I had one student come to my morning class. I figured there wouldn’t be many in the night class, but I went just in case. I waited outside of SECAP for about 25 minutes and then I started walking home. By the time I reached the bottom of La Gasca, I hadn’t seen any busses that would take me home, but such a thing is pretty normal, so I decided to try waiting at the bottom of La Gasca for a little while before I gave up and just continued walking all the way home.
A minute later, a van appeared. I overheard some people ask the driver if he was going up La Gasca and he said yeah, La Comuna also. I saw a small family get in, followed by a couple, and another woman and child, so I followed suit. “Toda La Gasca?” I asked, and the driver said yeah. If you’ve got the car for it, it’s not a bad gig, going around and giving people rides for 25 cents.
Later, at home, Will, Angie, and I heard some irregular clinking coming from outside. It had a vague, irregular rhythm to it, but it took us a while to even begin wondering about it. Eventually, however, we went to the roof to look for the source. From the roof, you could see small crowds gathering on LaGasca, banging pots and pans, and chanting “fuera Lucio.”
As the night progressed, the sounds grew louder. I finally decided to walk out to the road and look at what was happening. There were more people than I thought there would be, and they were clinking pots and chanting. An occasional car would drive by, honking in time to the pot-clinking.
Later, I went out to the La Gasca again with Angie to look for a cell phone card. There were probably a total of about 70 people stationed in various parts of the road, and they were starting to light bonfires in the middle of the street. One guy down the hill a bit had put together a PA system and was leading chants and talking about how the neighborhood of La Gasca was not going to tolerate this president. “Democracia si, dictadura no,” they chanted, in between their choruses of “fuera Lucio.”
Each successive night since the failed paro, people have mobilized more and more. Today, I was down by Carolina Park; cars were honking constantly, waving Ecuadorian flags out their windows. There was a definite air of excitement. I met up with some of my students, most of whom are anti-Lucio. Apparently, Lucio had called the protestors “forajidos,” which pretty much means “outlaws.” One of my students arrived with a sign taped to the back window of his car which said, “Yo soy forajido tambien” (I’m an outlaw, too).
After about two hours of conversation, we walked over to Shyris Avenue, where there was a big gathering of demonstrators. It was almost like being at a soccer game. They were waving flags, singing and chanting, wearing yellow, and jumping up and down. I had received a voice mail from our director informing us that the president had declared a “state of emergency” and that he’d broken a few constitutional rights, one of which was cutting the phone lines to the primary leftist radio station, Radio Luna. Most of my students seem to agree that this latest move by the president is going to make the people more impassioned and intense in their protests. But not all believe that. I have one student in particular, who thinks the people won’t be able to stop him and that he’ll become a dictator like Chavez in Venezuela.