REPORT #172 Feb 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

(Concerned Belizeans watch events and the effects of foreign debt)

President Mahuad is in hiding. Mid level colonels have taken over the government in Ecuador and the country is in political chaos.

Starvation and unemployment created by too many foreign loans, caused inflation presently running at 60%.

The IMF bonebreakers have been insisting interest be paid on the loans and forced inflation and austerity measures.

Poor people in crowds were jubilant in the Carondelet Palace.

No violence yet, but a few bonfires on street corners in Quito the capital and the coastal port of Guayaquil. The leader of the coup is Col. Lucio Gutierrez. He has formed a junta with a Supreme Court magistrate Carlos Solorzano and Antonio Vargas leader of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Indians of Ecuador.

The group say that the democracy of Ecuador based on the Spanish colonial model is a SHAM! It is manipulated by wealthy business owners and riddled by corruption.

The armed forces are divided at this point in time. Mid-level officers against senior officers.

The USA aid, Inter-American Bank and World Bank loans will be cut off to the country says the USA.

The old president Bucaram living in exile in Panama used to be friends with Colonel Gutierrez, but he was deposed three years ago, in a coup by wealthy groups in Quito and Guayaquil and thrown out of office by a corrupt Congress controlled by the wealthy families.

About 3000 indians broke through police barricades to storm the empty congress building and the mid level army officers supported them.

Gildardo Esquivel said " the corrupt politicians who put this president in power aren't saying anything. They are silent with their overseas bank accounts."

"Only the 200 richest Ecuadoreans, those who have always impoverished the nation will be against this. They are already getting their air tickets to leave the country," said Jose Maria Cabazcango an Indian leader.

Belize has been studying the effects of too much foreign loans and methods of achieving democracy that is more participatory than either the Latin Spanish colonial centralized political party controlled models and the U.K. British Empire colonial model which is similar. Attempting to achieve self-sufficiency and cut back on foreign debt and work within a balanced budget is also a problem in Belize, much like Ecuador. Ecuador is ahead of the curve, but Belize is not far behind in the same sort of eventual troubles under the current political constitution.

Indigenous leaders sounded almost gleeful in Ecuador, as they observed the sudden vacuum of power and the collapse of the political parties. Inflation is more damaging to a country than a war.

Belizeans concerned about central political party control of government and a rising billion dollar debt are watching the events in Ecuador closely, to see if what and any lessons can be learned from the events in Ecuador.

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