They’re not just out for Chavecito’s blood, but for that of anyone who forges alliances with him. Aporrea reports that a coup was plotted for Ecuador, but one very high-level intended perpetrator wouldn’t go through with it:
The former president of Ecuador, Abdala Bucaram, who received asylum in Panama, said that a millionaire offered him a large sum of money to topple the current president, Rafael Correa, according to declarations broadcast yesterday on TV channel Uno.
“Some politicians called Correa a traitor, and made me some big offers. There was a millionaire who offered me ten million dollars, not to eliminate him, but to oust him,” declared the former head of state.
Bucaram said he feared for the life of Correa, and added that there was a plan made to remove him from power, with the intention of reinstating 57 opposition deputies who had been sanctioned by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
“If my sister Elsa (a judge on the tribunal) had decided to reinstate the 57 deputies to Congress, they would have given me amnesty; I would have returned to Ecuador and overthrown Correa,” Bucaram said.
According to Bucaram, he is seen by Correa’s enemies as an “opponent” to Correa, even though his wish is that the president “have a good presidency”.
As far-fetched as this may sound at first, I think there’s more than a little truth to it. There are, indeed, powerful and wealthy interests plotting against this Bolivarian presidency.
Ecuador, under Correa, stands to make tremendous progress, especially in environmental matters. Since this country was so long exploited and polluted by oil companies, it stands to reason that this is the area where Correa wants to clean up the system, environmentally and politically. Indigenous tribes have been displaced by oil drilling, and sickened by its polluting byproducts; none have been adequately compensated for their losses. Correa promised in his electoral campaign to change all that, and it looks as if he’s just about to make good.
But such promises don’t sit well with the world’s economic empires.
John Perkins, in his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, tells of how he developed close and highly ambiguous ties to Ecuador over the course of his career as a private contractor for the State Dept. He was especially drawn to then-president Jaime Roldos, whom he was supposed to persuade into accepting massive “aid”–which would turn into massive, unpayable debt, which in turn would turn into economic enslavement for Ecuador in the form of odious “conditionalities” on an IMF or World Bank emergency loan. Roldos refused, and insisted on governing the country his own way–democratically and with an eye to its collective benefit. I suspect Perkins was not entirely sorry to have “failed” in his assignment because he liked Roldos tremendously and was secretly pulling for him, but the consequences of that failure were dire: the “jackals” moved in, and succeeded in eliminating Roldos by arranging a not-so-accidental plane crash.
Since Roldos’s death, Ecuador has suffered a great deal of instability. Abdala Bucaram, quoted above, was one of the many subsequent presidents to leave power soon after he got into it–ignominiously and under a cloud of scandal, though he was lucky to get out alive. It undoubtedly helped Bucaram to have the gift of populist gab, and also that he was of the Roldosista party–yes, named for you-know-who.
Unfortunately, Bucaram is no Jaime Roldos. He lasted just six months before being ousted on grounds of “mental incompetence” and misspending of public funds. His nickname, El Loco, is certainly a dead giveaway as to his fitness for the job.
However, I don’t think Abdala Bucaram is quite loco enough to just make shit like this up. Especially not in light of how both Jaime Roldos and another president whom EHM John Perkins futilely courted (and also secretly admired), Omar Torrijos of Panama, ended up. And certainly not in light of what is going on in Ecuador right now.
There are a lot of people, with a lot of rich and powerful international connections, who would be more than happy to see Rafael Correa brought low, one way or another. And who would be more than happy to pay handsomely for the privilege. The fact that one of them would make a hefty offer to a charismatic incompetent like Bucaram surprises me not in the least. It makes sense: in exchange for a triumphal return to office, Bucaram would be expected to rubber-stamp whatever deals those powerful interests had in mind, and whatever ghastly laws they wanted passed. He wouldn’t have to use his head, he’d only have to nod it constantly. A cinchier presidency could scarcely be imagined.
Only El Loco, true to nothing except maybe his contrarian streak, wouldn’t play along. Instead, he blew the plan wide open and blabbed it to the media. You have to admire him for that; he could have been set up for life. Instead, he said no to mucho dinero. I suspect he probably has enough to live comfortably on as it is, though. At least in Panama, where Torrijos’s son, Martin, currently holds sway.
And at least until he opens his big mouth just a bit too far and actually names who made the offer.
Let’s hope for his sake that he’s not that loco.