Merida, October 1st 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Some Venezuelan opposition press tried to portray yesterday’s coup attempt in Ecuador as a farce or a ‘show’, while Venezuelan government officials expressed satisfaction with the defeat of the attempt. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) decided on measures should there be another coup attempt in the region.
Venezuelan opposition press coverage of the coup attempt
Venezuelan private television media supported the aggressions against the public channel TV Ecuador during the coup attempt yesterday and characterised the attempt itself as a ‘show’ or drama, AVN argued today.
Yesterday police in the capital and other major cities of Ecuador took over strategic sites such as airports and parliament, allegedly as a protest to a law passed on Wednesday that affected their working conditions. President Rafael Correa tried to talk to one protest, was hit by tear gas, went to a police hospital where he was detained by the police. Later, at around 10pm, Ecuadorian military managed to rescue Correa.
During the coup attempt police and those aligned with them also broke into the offices of TV Ecuador. The government had ordered that all stations transmit the content of TV Ecuador and the other state owned channel Gama TV. The police tried to take the station off air.
Host of the program Alo Ciudadano (Hello Citizen) on Venezuelan opposition television station Globovision, Nitu Perez, said the attacks on TV Ecuador were just the reactions of a “group of annoyed people” and “it needs to be understood that these things happen when all the democratic means for expression are shut down”, AVN reported.
Journalist Nelson Bocaranda, who works with a variety of opposition print, radio, and television, wrote on his Twitter account that, “[Ecuadorian President Rafael] Correa is marvellous as an actor. He sells himself as a defenceless victim and honest”.
He also wrote an article titled “The interrogators of the Ecuadorian operetta” where he accused Correa of wanting to increase his popularity and said Correa was copying the “system used by Chavez to control... his country”.
Anonymous Twitter account @vvperiodista, likely managed by the private television channel Venevision, said, “The show by Correa didn’t become a ‘self coup’, [rather it] was a dangerous ‘self kidnapping’”. Later, when Correa was addressing the crowd outside the presidential palace, the account called the day a “Bolivarian soap opera”.
Venezuelan government reacts to the coup attempt in Ecuador
Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua commented that the coup attempt was “another coup from the laboratory” of the United States. He was speaking during a vigil outside the Ecuadorian embassy in Caracas yesterday following a call by Chavez to “maintain mobilisations in all the cities of the country as [a show of] unconditional support” for Ecuador.
Rodrigo Cabezas, United Socialist Party of Venezuela deputy elect to the Latin American Parliament, said the events showed how solidarity among the peoples of Latin America had strengthened over the last few years.
Referring to the quick reaction by UNASUR members, who immediately called a meeting in Buenos Aires in response to the events in Ecuador, Cabezas said, “It’s great that today in Latin America we can say that we are creating institutions such as UNASUR to effectively resolve... attacks against democracy. Venezuela is at the vanguard of this.”
Chavez, through his Twitter account, said the coup outcome was a victory, “The peoples of Latin America have shown fascism a lesson: It won’t be back!”
This morning Chavez attended the emergency meeting of UNASUR in Buenos Aires.
“It was an opportunity for us to meet, to make a final declaration, to condemn the coup attempt, to defend the Ecuadorian government, and to ask for respect for the Correa’s life,” Chavez said after the meeting.
However, he stressed that, “This sort of thing [the coup attempt] is worrying and we have to call for reflection, to strengthen democracy in the continent along one line.” He said that the UNASUR meeting showed that the task is for all the member countries to work “united”.
UNASUR discusses the events in Ecuador
UNASUR met in Buenos Aires early this morning, and resolved that its countries’ foreign ministers would meet in Quito this afternoon.
The morning meeting of UNASUR suggested a special statute against coups that includes measures such as the immediate closing of borders, paralysation of trade, sanctions, and immediate extradition of coup participants.
It also produced a document with six agreements that reject the coup attempt, affirm commitment to democracy, celebrate the defeat of the coup attempt, and express that those responsible should be judged and condemned.
Finally, this afternoon, foreign ministers of member countries of UNASUR arrived in Ecuador to show their support for regional unity against any coup d-etat.