Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, on Thursday, there was a large police riot (led by the police!) in Ecuador.
The crazy day started with thousands of police officers storming the airports in Quito and Guayaquil, temporarily closing off all flights.
They then took to the streets, refusing to work. From there they preceded to the police headquarters. There, they met with the president, President Correa, who went to try to convince the police to stand down.
The riot initiated because the police thought Correa and his government had just passed a law cutting their bonus benefits. But in reality, the law doesn’t do this, just channels the funds in a different manner. The thing is none of the police had actually read the new law.
They let themselves be influenced and used intelligently by Correa’s clever (and rich) opponents who skewed the new law to mean what they wanted it to.
And it worked.
The police almost ousted the President. Their was an armed confrontation and the President had to go to the hospital for a brief moment. Once in the hospital, he had to be rescued by special-forces army troops.
The day after, on Friday, the police commissioner of Ecuador resigned (probably forcibly) and a new one has been appointed. The police went back to work, and everything returned to normal.
The reality of the situation is that Correa and his administration has done way more for the police force then any past administration, hands down. He has multiplied the number of policemen. He has doubled, tripled, maybe even quadrupled the salaries and given them new equipment, cars and uniforms. In the end, I think the police realize this and that’s why their little stink was simply to make a statement, “look at us, we matter.”
Honestly, from the ground in Ecuador, I can say civilians where never put at risk during the incident.
It may be hard to understand incidents like this if you haven’t spent much quality time in Latin America. In the USA, we have an ordered system of checks and balances if things go array. The government listens to the people ad most feel as if they have a say.
But in many countries in Latin America, like in Ecuador, the people at times simply don’t think the government listens to them unless they protest, raise a stink, and block some streets. These protests rarely turn violent, and are a common occurrence from the border of Mexico all the way to Buenos Aires.
All in all, I wouldn’t let things like this get in the way of your dream, which may be that big move to hot, sassy, colorful Latin America – where men are men and governments are scared!
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