Student Witnesses Government Overthrow
senior Angie Hewitt spent the waning days of last semester witnessing
a government overthrow. Lucio Gutiarrez, Ecuador’s president, was
ousted from power in late April after a week of constant, violent
public protests. Gutiarrez had reportedly stolen money from the
government, put his friends and family into political offices that
they were not qualified for, and led a corrupt leadership that the
citizens of Ecuador took upon themselves to change.
was doing her student teaching
in a valley near the city of Quito. She and other teachers were
put on lockdown at the school when the protesting reached its peak.
major roads to get back into the city were blocked, and the minor
roads were already in the process of being blocked, so the school
decided to send the students
home,” said Hewitt. “After all but about 100 students had left,
the teachers were sent to the cafeteria. None of us were allowed
she taught at a school that was removed from the large downtown
protests, Hewitt said she was not afraid of the situation.
first it was really no big deal. I was used to all of the political
unrest. I had been to a couple of the protests, participated in
one of the marches, and had days off of school because of it all.
However, I did become scared when there were reports of robberies
at Ecuador 's main grocery store chain and kidnappings in the valley
where I was. That was followed by this image of someone shooting
out of a government building at the crowd, and the crowd starting
the building on fire in response. That was unreal and intimidating
for me. I knew at that point this was more than just the normal
the elevation of the violence, Hewitt was in no immediate danger.
Her host family in Quito had relatives who lived close by the school,
so in the event of the school being completely evacuated, she would
have had somewhere safe to go. Nonetheless, the experience has had
a profound effect on her life.
day alone made me so much more appreciative of the system we have
in the United States," Hewitt reflected. "I think our
generation is rather spoiled and doesn't appreciate the government
we have. The situation in Ecuador has only encouraged my desire
to travel. It has made me so much more appreciative of other cultures,
countries and governments.”
Gutiarrez’s removal, vice president Alfredo Palacio was sworn into
office. He is the 10th president Ecuador has had over the last decade.
The Brazilian government offered Gutiarrez political asylum. His
opponents are working to have him stand trial in Ecuador on corruption