|Latin American leaders have pledged their support for Rafael Correa and his government [Reuters]|
World leaders have pledged their support for Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, after a state of emergency was called amid protests by police officers angry over plans to remove some of their benefits.
Correa himself sought refuge in a hospital in Quito on Thursday after being teargassed by as he attempted to speak to offficers at a barracks in the capital.
Hugo Chavez, the Venezulean president, called on other leaders in the region to rally to defend his close ally, describing the unrest as “an effort to overthrow President Correa”.
“Together with the people of Latin America and the Caribbean we will be vigilant and standing in solidarity [with Correa] in this historic moment,” a statement from Chavez’s government said.
Neighbouring Peru has closed its border with Ecuador until the situation in the country is cleared up.
“I am ordering all traffic halted on the northern border until the situation is clarified and authority of President Correa restored,” Alan Garcia, the Peruvian president told reporters at the government palace.
He said foreign ministers from across South America would try to travel to Ecuador in a bid to resolve the conflict.
Garcia’s actions were echoed by Colombia, which also shares a border with Ecuador.
“I spoke with [Peru’s president] and the two countries decided to close the borders with Ecuador as a political sign of solidarity with President Correa and with Ecuador’s democracy,” Juan Manuel Santos, the Colombian president, told reporters before getting on a flight for a regional meeting in Argentina on Ecuador’s unrest.
Speaking to Correa before the meeting of the Organisation of American States, Miguel Insulza, the head of 35-nation body, said that the president has the “full support” of the group.
The US envoy to the OAS said that Washington condemned any unconstitutional attempt to unseat the democratically elected president.
“The US condemns any attempt to violate the democratic process and constitutional order of Ecuador,” Carmen Lomellin said. “We support the democratic government in Ecuador.”
The Mexican foreign ministry expressed “concern over the events today in Ecuador” and called for an effort for “dialogue and conciliation”. Similar expressions of support came from leaders in Chile and Paraguay.
Concern for Correa
Europe has also signalled its support for the embattled Ecuadorean president.
“I strongly urge all parties to refrain from violence and actions which could undermine Ecuador’s constitutional order and rule of law,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, was quoted as saying by her spokeswoman Maja Kocijancik.
“I call for the preservation of constitutional order in Ecuador and express my full support to Ecuador’s democratically elected institutions.”
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said that he was deeply concerned for the “personal welfare” of Correa.
“The secretary general is deeply concerned about developments today in Ecuador, including reported acts of insubordination by some members of the police and military,” a spokesman for Ban said.
“The secretary general is also concerned about the physical condition and personal welfare of President Rafael Correa.”
“He welcomes the endeavours of the Organisation of American States and other regional actors to contribute to an early, constructive resolution.”