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Ecuador: Seeking Those Responsible for September 30 Uprising

After almost one month since the September 30 police strike, things in Ecuador have calmed down. The police uprising ultimately worked for the troops because they got what they wanted: Leaders of the National Assembly, including those from the same political party of President Correa, didn’t take into consideration the reforms sent by Correa that would reduce benefits, and the project became law in a process that many called “automatic [es],” without further discussion.

Even though the cause for discontent from members of the Ecuadorian police and some members of the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE by its initials in Spanish) was solved, investigations to determine who is responsible for the September 30 uprising have continued. So far, 14 members of the police are being processed by the Attorney General.

President Correa, on his Saturday broadcast from Ichimbia in the capital, Quito, said the main actor of the strike has been identified as former police sergeant Luis Aníbal Martínez Vilañez [es]. Spanish Readers Blog [es] writes that the former sergeant didn’t show up to a court audience he was to attend for alleged human rights violations. Presumably, Martinez has already left Ecuador.

In Ecuador, with or without the police, the thieves carry out their business; but Ecuafriki’s blogger [es] explains that on that September 30, the thieves were the ones who benefited the most:

Así es, mientras la policía estuvo en todo el movimiento para reclamar sus derechos, un grupo (bastante grande) de ladrones y vándalos salieron a las calles a hacer de las suyas. Cuando el gato duerme, los ratones se pasean (como dijo alguien por ahí, se enteraron que no había policía, cogieron sus mejores gorras planas, sus pantalones bajos, sus mejores cuchillos y salieron a disfrutar de la libertad…)

So while police members were present throughout the entire movement to demand their rights, one group (quite large) of thieves and vandals took to the streets to make them theirs. When the cat's away the mice will walk (as someone said out there, they learned that there were no police, took their best flat hats, their fat pullovers, their best knives and went out to enjoy the freedom …)

Latin America has been receiving a lot of attention from international media this past month: Mario Vargas Llosa and his Nobel Prize in Literature, the rescue of 33 miners in Chile and of course the police strike in Ecuador. Hoy y Ahora’s blogger [es] doubts Ecuadorians could repeat the words by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera after the rescue of the 33 miners: “We did it the Chilean way”

No podemos basar la situación de un país en un solo hecho, en un solo triunfo o fracaso. Pero en esta ocasión, estos sucesos parecerían revelar mucho de nuestra realidad. En el caso ecuatoriano, una triste y decepcionante realidad.

We can not base the status of a country on a single event, on a single success or failure. But this time, these events might seem to reveal much of our reality. In the case of Ecuador, a sad and disappointing reality.

Politica y Sociedad [es] is another blog who tries to explain the irrationality of the troop's salary claims. Blogger Luis Alberto Mendieta blames right-wing Ecuadorians for the events of September 30:

Bastó mencionarles que les quitarían el biberón para que sus intereses egoístas pisoteen la racionalidad y el patriotismo… Intento de golpe de estado porque les quitaron un BONO… Y de yapa, como animales, querían matar al que, con toda razón, propone quitarles la teta. Si eso es ‘pueblo’, el concepto de sociedad HUMANA vale un carajo, porque bien podría mañana matar a mi vecino por un plato de fritada, y sería un excelente ejemplar de ‘pueblo’, porque no me convidó un poquito…

It was enough to mention that they would be removed from the [baby] bottle for their selfish interests to trample rationality and patriotism … A coup attempt because a BONUS was taken away … And for good measure, like animals, they wanted to kill the one who rightly proposes to take the baby bottle away from them. If that is the ‘people', the human concept of society is worth nothing [expletive], because tomorrow I might kill my neighbor for a plate of fried pork, and I would be an excellent example of the ‘people', because he did not share a little with me…

President Correa has pointed out that the brain behind “30S” — a hashtag created on Twitter to follow the outcomes– was former President Lucio Gutierrez, but that the only person who should be incarcerated for now is Anibal Martinez. Nobody else is paying for the incident that left Ecuadorians deeply divided and suspecting one another, while going through a rising economic crisis. There is no agreement on whether this was an attempt to take Correa’s presidency or whether it was only a police protest.

If you ask a member of Correa’s opposition they will say that it was self-kidnapping and a coup d’etat created by Correa himself [es]. But if you ask a sympathizer, they will agree that in effect if was a bloody intent to overthrow the president [es].

Yet others, like Cristian Espinosa from Cobertura Digital [es], try to find the words that will best describe September 30, 2010 in Ecuador: “Attempted murder? Kindapping, coup d'etat, self-overthrow, rebellion, conspiracy …?” Almost a month later, Ecuadorians are still trying to figure out what exactly happened that day, as this video (in Spanish with Dutch subtitles) from Noticias.nl shows:

Thumbnail image by flickr user Simon Schultz, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.

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