Police officers convicted in Correa assassination plot; Advocacy group says EU trade agreement is a bad deal
A court in Ecuador convicted six police officers on Friday of attempting to assassinate President Rafael Correa during a 2010 rebellion that left 10 people dead and 274 wounded.
During the police mutiny, which erupted over bonus cuts, protesting officers besieged Correa for 12 hours inside a hospital where he had taken refuge, killing one of his bodyguards and opening fire on his armoured car before he finally escaped with an elite rescue unit.
Prosecutor Gustavo Benitez said the six convicted police had all been caught on video with "weapons, their faces covered and ready to open fire on the president." In all, 40 people have now been convicted of involvement in the rebellion.
The six convicted on Friday are currently in detention and are expected to be sentenced in the coming days. They face prison terms of eight to 12 years.
At the time, Correa, blamed the rebellion on supporters of Lucio Gutierrez, an ex-army colonel who was president from 2003 to 2005.
Environmental group criticizes EU trade agreement
An Ecuadorian environmental group says the country’s new trade agreement with the EU will hurt small businesses as well as the environment.
The Ecuador Ecological Action Group criticized the trade agreement, claiming it will have “major negative effects” on Ecuador.
Cecilia Chérrez, one of the group's leaders and co-author a report on the possible effects of the treaty with the EU, called it nothing more than a “free trade agreement” that President Rafael Correa said he would never sign. “It is the same thing that Peru and Colombia signed and it gives major concessions to the EU at the expense of Ecuador.”
The government continues to claim that the agreement does not amount to free trade and that the interests of Ecuador's most sensitive businesses have been protected.
Chérrez says the agreement will be especially damaging to farmers and agricultural interests in general, and could lead to the bankruptcy of small and medium sized farmers. She added that the negotiations between the EU and Ecuador were not fair due to “large asymmetries” between Ecuadorian and EU interests.