Ecuadorians oust their president
Ecuador’s Congress votes out president
The change in power occurred after street protests that began several months ago, when Gutierrez sacked most of the Supreme Court judges and hand-picked their replacements. The move provoked a tremendous public outcry, with escalating protests in recent weeks raising fears of violence between supporters and critics of Gutierrez.
Gutierrez contended that he made the move in order to create a more independent court system, but much of the public believed it to be an attempt by the left-of-center government to consolidate power.
According to CBC News, the president of Ecuador sought political asylum in Brazil’s embassy overnight Wednesday, hours after the nation’s Congress removed him from office.
The 100 members of Congress used a clause in the constitution allowing legislators to remove a president for “abandonment of the position,” arguing that Gutierrez had not faithfully carried out the responsibilities of the presidency.
Venezuela News and Views analyzes the situation:
But his undoing seems to have been the High Court manipulations which resulted in the surprise return from exile of ex-prez Bucaram, the joker of the Americas. That apparently was too much for the congress already embroiled in a bitter battle for the future of the high court. Now Gutierrez is asking for political asylum in the Brazilian embassy. It is strange that a ruler who from outside seems to have managed his country better than expected is ousted in such an unceremonious way. While the disaster we have in Venezuela keeps strengthening his power with money and repression.
Tonight many people must be thoughtful in Venezuela. Definitely, only constant street pressure will offer us some hope of change. Even some chavista groups understand that as a violent chavista mob was harassing Caracas mayor Bernal yesterday, complaining of electoral fraud in the recent internal election of Chavez party. Imagine that!
But one thing seems certain, as in April 11 2002, the Venezuelan Army, for better or for worse, will be the one who decides who stays and who goes. We are quite far from true democracy, in Ecuador or in Venezuela…
Let’s hope Ecuador, and Venezuela, too, will find a democratic and responsible president that would bring his country to stability and prosperity.