After having spent more than 12 hours holed up in a hospital due to a police uprising against him, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa was rescued by the country’s military. There was exchange of fire between the police and the military, according to Edwin Jarrin, Vice Minister of the Interior. Jarrin told AFP reporters by telephone, on Thursday night at 11:30PM EST “we got him, we got him”. The vice minister was by Correa’s side as he left the hospital in a wheel chair and protective gear on his face, surrounded by the military, as well as a special forces unit. Five soldiers were injured as a result of the exchange of fire.
Correa appeared at the presidential balcony, following his rescue and declared: “Its a day of profound sadness that I never thought would happen during my government. The police have been infiltrated by well-known political parties that want to conspire.”
Worldwide condemnation followed the attempted coup.
Ecuador’s National Assembly passed a law that was designed to “equalize” wages for all public employees by raising their base pay. That same law eliminated bonuses which was the catalyst that caused police to walk off the job and take to the streets.
Correa refused to negotiate with the police, indicating that they had not familiarized themselves with the new law. He called their behavior a disgrace.
Unlike his predecessors who have been thrown out of power or impeached during the period between 1997 and 2005, Correa had great support from the Ecuadorian people.