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Popular rage overthrows Ecuadorian President

The rebellion of Quito

Lucio Gutierrez was overthrown by the volcanic though peaceful popular uprising of Quito. The suspension of the Supreme Court could not stop the massive demonstrations which defeated its brutal repression. Even when Vice President Palacios assumed the presidency, the people still demanded their resignation. Defeated were also the parties, the political regime as a whole, which was sunk in its own implosion, neoliberalism and the American tutelage.

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Lucio Gutierrez was overthrown by the volcanic though peaceful popular uprising of Quito. The suspension of the Supreme Court could not stop the massive demonstrations which defeated its brutal repression. Even when Vice President Palacios assumed the presidency, the people still demanded their resignation. Defeated were also the parties, the political regime as a whole, which was sunk in its own implosion, neoliberalism and the American tutelage.

The external social pressure was much more powerful than the political regime. The collapse of the "State of Emergency" imposed by Lucio Gutierrez on Friday, April 15, was followed by, 19 hours later, the demise of the Supreme Court on Sunday, April 17, and its overthrow by the peaceful uprising of the rebelled Quito on April 20.

Desperate by the increasing human tide of anger and indignation, the idea of using all repressive forces assembled in Quito evaporated.

The Congress, surrounded by thousands of "fugitives" among which were children, senior citizens and women, unanimously approved the suspension of the Supreme Court, supported even by Bucaram’s Roldosista Party (PRE), its main beneficiary, the Socialist Party and the Democratic Popular Movement (MPD) on whom, Lucio, last December, counted to establish it.

Thus, two of its main goals, that is, to maintain Lucio’s government and his impunity, and the return of former presidents Bucaram and Noboa and of former Vice- President Dahik, were considered injurious to its dignity by the people and therefore could never be attained.

La Luna and the disalienation

La Luna radio station kept its heroic work by opening its microphones to the people, at a time in which its right of freedom of expression was the target of an intense campaign of intimidation, sabotages and attacks. The invisible people became visible minute after minute trough La Luna Hertzian waves and began to recognize their own nature, its sacred dignity and its volcanic strength.

Systematically, the media tried to diminish the real impact of what was happening in Quito and could distort its sense and block its replica in the whole country. However, they could not fulfill their objective of isolating and stifling rebelled Quito

The people realized they could say the truth and what they thought, that their thoughts reflected a reality with which most people were identified. La Luna had begun a revolution.

It turned out that the people began to recover their own image, the image of themselves, to value their imagination and to realize that individual, personal pain was also collective. Disalienation erupted as a chain reaction process. It is not that life did not belong to us, no, life is actually ours. It is not that Homeland did not belong to us, no, Homeland is actually ours.

The decorated arrogance of power

The arrogance of power, of Lucio’s government and his allies of the PRE, the Partido Renovador Institucional Acción Nacional (PRIAN) (National Action Institutional renovating Party), the MPD and the Socialist Party and of the opposition led by the Social-Christian Party, the Democratic Left and Pachakutik led them to act out of inertia, which excluded movement, change and revolution.

They thought the mechanical forces of the State repression capacity and the threat of terror could intimidate the people of Quito, or that the mechanical forces of the establishment, the agreements behind the scenes in the Congress and the control of the media could do it too. But they failed.

The government supported and protected by such a political scenario was inexorably collapsing right under the nose of the lazy political regime, which was sunk in the powerlessness of its own implosion for following the orders of the State Department, Condoleza Rice, the Pentagon and its Southern Command, which actually sent a top level authority, General Myers, to decorate Lucio last April 11, to show him their support.

The popular anger is unleashed

"One more fugitive" spoke through La Luna and asked the people to assemble in front of the cross of the Pope on April 19, the place from where John Paul II talked to the people of Quito in 1985. The purpose was to make a peaceful demonstration to go to the Palace of Carondelet and force Gutierrez’ resignation peacefully, as the patriots did it in 1809 when they overthrew the government of the Spanish Crown, as well as in February 1997 when the people toppled Bucaram and in January 2000 with Mahuad.

Lucio threatened with the mobilization of his hordes. In Guayaquil, hired assassins and scoundrels were recruited to form obviously paramilitary bands.

The FEINE, Federation of Evangelic Indigenous People, took 2 or 3 thousand natives to the city. Lucio ordered the concentration of thousands of policemen and soldiers and provided them with special military equipment, which included the fearful mustard gas, tear-gas canisters, Rottweiler dogs, horses, etc., etc.

La Luna continued doing its work. Paco Velasco, Luis Ramiro Pozo and Atahulfo Tobar hoarse voices kept dialoguing with their extended-like-an-ocean audience. To the electronic war which blocked its signal several times, cable cuts were added on Monday 18, which left La Luna off the air for several hours.

Tuesday 19 was a day full of promises. People got ready for the demonstration since early in the morning, prepared their tricolored flags, the flags of Bolivar and Sucre, and white roses. At 5 in the afternoon, the human tide was already assembled full with the joy of dignity. Then, the demonstration began its march in Quito.

Thousands and thousands of people marched peacefully until they got to the corner of the La Virgen, in front of La Alameda park, where Gutierrez’ entrenched repression was waiting for them.

The people got there and suddenly, as in war, policemen launched bombs. Monica Fernández, watching how her mother was being attacked, leapt herself on the policemen and demanded them not to touch the people. But, after being shaken by a policeman, she fell fainted and asphyxiated. In a nearby place, Julio Garcia, a Chilean photographer, who had worked in the country for several decades, told the police not to use brutality as a weapon, and he also fell.

Monica could be revived, but Julio, very affected, was taken to a hospital and died. He will be remembered as a hero in the history of this homeland, something he had actually been during every single day of his life.

The people looked for all alternatives and the police cordon was broken. The demonstrators got to the very surrounding areas of the Palace of Carondelet, two blocks away from where they were. The members of FEINE, who had been mobilized as slaves, panicked by the arrival of the people and ran away from the Plaza San Francisco square, where they had been previously located to be used against the people.

Radio Tarqui, the legendary popular station, broadcasted live what was happening even at the entrance of the station. It was a night of inspired battle for the "fugitives" and a night of terror for Lucio, who nervously felt the imminent entrance of the people to the Palace and ordered repression and repression, forgetting he once said he had joined the January 21, 2000, popular uprising because the people could not be repressed or shot

His mask had disappeared; the true image was now there. He wanted to run away desperately. And the only thing that came to his mind was intensifying repression, apart from saying empty words calling for peace. He called his cousin Renán Borbúa, who told him he was coming from Guayaquil to Quito accompanied by 5 000 people to defend Lucio’s government and make a peaceful demonstration in front of La Luna.

On the same Radio Tarqui radio station, colonel Jorge Brito made a call to block all the access ways to Quito to prevent the entrance of hired assassins. Mayor Moncayo and Prefect González ordered heavy machinery and stone materials to be placed in order to close the access ways. However, the police eliminated these defenses.

The day broke and the mercenaries’ buses advanced with the protection of the police. The people got extremely angry. In the National Poli-Technical School students got out to prevent the advance of Gutierrez’ bands buses. A woman fell out of one of the buses and was run over by an army armored personnel carrier that left her in the middle of the road. The students tried to help her but she was already dead.

Parliaments and assemblies reappeared

In the access ways to Quito, people went out massively to block the entrance by exposing their lives. In Los Chillos Valley, the "fugitives" assembled in Avenue Rumiñahui and blocked the entrance. Trailers, buses, middle-size buses, light trucks, and car drivers collaborated too.

The hired assassins’ buses arrived but they could not face the people. They looked for all possible ways out. People began to say things through the resourcefully installed loudspeakers to follow the events and, alternating with the reports of La Luna, exposed their ideas, a true expression of a revolution in action.

They demanded the creation of a parliament or assembly of the people or the citizens to exercise sovereignty freely and collectively and defend their achievements so that no one could take them away from them as in 1997 with the overthrow of Bucaram and that of Mahuad in 2000. The people demanded Lucio’s resignation and that of all the actors of a party rule that stole the people’s political rights with an imposed multiparty system and elections by the military dictatorship of the 70s under CIA orders.

The people also defended the sovereignty of the nation by preventing Ecuador’s involvement in the Colombia Plan, demanding the expulsion of the American Southern Command off the Manta base and rejecting the Free Trade Agreement, aimed at completely destroying the economic sovereignty of the nation. All of a sudden, when a bus was trapped in the middle of the crowd, a "fugitive", an ordinary man, was fatally run over due to the desperation of the driver and was later taken while agonizing or already dead in an ambulance. When I wrote this, the identity of this other hero of dignity was still unknown.

Lucio began to escape

People were getting ready to go to the Academy of War, not far away, to demand military men to protect the lives of the citizens and popular sovereignty, when the news said the Congress had suspended Lucio. The people did welcome this new victory but immediately began to demand the resignation of all of them.

After singing the national anthem, some people took the microphones and explained what they thought. They did not want the parties to destroy their country; they wanted them all out of the country. The Citizens’ Assembly had a debate where a referendum was proposed in order to abolish the law of the parties, to establish a new electoral status to fully guarantee the political rights of the citizens and elect a constituent assembly formed by the popular parliaments or citizens, so that the people could participate in the decision-making process of the nation from their own neighborhoods, parishes, cantons and provinces.

Then, the Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff, which had maintained the State of Emergency and made everything possible to protect the President, announced it was withdrawing its support. The people, who had remained in the surrounding areas of the Presidential Palace since the previous night, burst into Plaza de la Independencia square with their yellow, blue and red flags shouting: Every one out!, Everyone out!

Lucio left the Palace in a helicopter reproducing President De La Rúa’s escape action in Buenos Aires. He went to the airport, where people blocked the landing strip so that he could not take off but he finally left in the helicopter and spent the night as a refugee in the legation of Brazil, which was also surrounded by the people.

The Congress met at the building of CIESPAL (International Center of Advanced Studies in Communication for Latin America) in the northern part of Quito and was surrounded by the people, who kept demanding: Every one out! The new president, Alfredo Palacio, had serious problems to leave the place. Before that, he introduced himself to the crowd and said his post was at their disposal.

The people follow their objective

The shouts of Lucio out! and Every one out! were extremely linked. The maneuvers of the Mayor of Guayaquil, and those of Social Christian Jaime Nebot to let people notice they were present in the demonstrations of their city were in vain. The same thing happened to the other right and left wing parties, which shared the responsibility of taking the country to the neoliberal hell.

The same happened too to the American ambassador, who visited Lucio in the Palace even at the last moment. But now, the people is working on establishing its parliaments and assemblies to recover its political rights and the full exercise of its sovereignty to socialize power and overcome the oppression under which they were living to assume the reconstruction of their Homeland and setting it free from the foreign colonial tutelage.

Marcelo Larrea

Marcelo Larrea Journalist and writer, is the director of El Sucre, correspondent of Adital in Ecuador, collaborator of Question in Venezuela and author of several books among which: La historia no termina, Hablar a través del tiempo and La triple victoria de Chávez o la guerra por otros medios.

 
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