Ousted Ecuador Leader Is Evacuated to Brazil

From Associated Press

Ousted Ecuadorean President Lucio Gutierrez flew to asylum in Brazil on Sunday, four days after he was toppled by massive street protests and sought refuge from angry demonstrators in the Brazilian ambassador’s residence.

Gutierrez left Ecuador with his family on a Brazilian air force Boeing 737 after being removed from the residence before dawn, arriving in Brazil’s capital seven hours later, said Lt. Col. Valdomiro Fagundes, a spokesman for Brazil’s military.

Gutierrez, his wife and one of his two daughters were immediately flown out of the airport by helicopter to a hotel in Brasilia run by the military, Fagundes said. It was not immediately clear why only one daughter made the trip.


“They were rescued,” Fagundes said. “The mission was a success.”

Congress dismissed Gutierrez on Wednesday and replaced him with Alfredo Palacio, his vice president.

Gutierrez, the nation’s third president in eight years to be ousted by unrest, came to power promising populist changes. But many felt betrayed when he introduced austerity programs and cut government subsidies soon after his 2002 election.

Gutierrez’s enemies say he should be tried for abuse of power, corruption and the violent repression of the protests that prompted Wednesday’s congressional vote.

His supporters say he was removed from power illegally, and the Organization of American States has asked Ecuador’s new government to explain how Congress justified its decision to remove him for “abandonment of the post” when he was still at the helm in the Government Palace.

Quito appeared calm Sunday, with little sign of reaction to the former president’s departure.