Yesterday at about 1:50, Lucio Gutierrez officially fell. The Ecuadorian armed forces withdrew their support of the president. About 20 or 30 minutes later, the police stopped battling the demonstrators and let them walk on to the presidential palace. The vice president, Alfredo Palacio was sworn in at 2:10 or so. Lucio fled the palace in a helicopter and arrived at the Quito airport sometime around 2:30, but he was met by crowds of people who had basically taken over the airport and who wouldn’t allow a plane to leave. The helicopter than left, and it is rumored Lucio went to Brazil, but no one’s sure yet where he is.
We are safe. There were about 100 injuries here in Quito, and three deaths. The first death was a Chilean journalist who had a heart attack, possibly brought on by the tear gas. The second was a teenaged boy who fell out of a pick up truck. The third was someone at the Ministry of Well-Being, who fell from a second-floor window and died. The most violence was at the Ministry of Well-Being (Ministerio de Bien-Estar), where some politician fired a few gunshots at the angry mob surrounding his building. Three people were shot, but none died. The polician, however, succeeded in pissing off a mob, which is never a good idea. They proceeded to set the building on fire and loot the place.
Apparently, Ecuador has actually made the news in the States. Way to go Ecuador! I’ve been told that Canada is recommending people don’t travel to Ecuador. Let me just say publicly, as a North American LIVING in Quito, the city most affected by the recent revolution, that it is not that bad.
Tomorrow, we will be posting a play-by-play of our day yesterday. Stay tuned.