Things appear to have gotten out of control pretty quickly in Dayuma, reading the papers and watching telenoticias. At this point, the Army together with the police, has arrested 22 residents in the community including the Prefect of Orellana, Guadalupe LLori (Ecuador's version of an elected State governor; Llori is from Lucio Gutierrez's party, the PSP). Looking at photos in this morning's El Comercio, it appears that soldiers and cops were none too gentle in grabbing people. Articles quote detainees as having been punched, kicked, beaten and robbed, in some cases, and photos show one guy with serious face injuries and other people down in the dirt or stacked in military vehicles on their way to jail.
As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the Catholic Church and various human rights groups have denounced the government's actions and - here's where it gets interesting - appealed to the Constituent Assembly for the release of the detainees and investigation of the entire Dayuma situation.
The government's response has been that the detainees are all troublemakers (in some cases, sheltered by Colombians, not further identified). Correa and his Security Coordinator, Fernando Bustamante, have responded to human rights groups' accusations and calls for investigations by telling the CA that essentially none of the Dayuma affair is CA business. Further, Correa has threatened to resign if the CA decides to look into Dayuma. Correa even went so far as to send 300 of his Alianza Pais people to march on CA offices in Montecristi to demonstrate the "will of the people" (original phrasing) in demanding that the CA keep its hands off of the Correa government and its activities.
News viewers were treated to the spectacle, then, of Alianza Pais folks threatening Acuerdo Pais folks (CA leadership with 80 of its 130 seats under their control) with "direct action" if the CA didn't accede to Correa's demands/threats.
So, surprise, the CA did accede to Correa, expressing that, gosh, even though the CA has plenipotentiary powers (which they used to dissolve Congress and fire a number of Correa's political enemies), suddenly those powers don't exist and/or apply when it comes to defying Correa. As El Comercio columnist Marco Arauz put it this morning, while the CA doesn't recognize any limits to its powers and authorities when it comes to the Constitution and legislation, it will recognize its limits when it comes to following the Correa government's playbook.
Aside from the obvious inconsistencies, if not hypocrisy evident in the CA's actions (taken with the assistance of eight votes from MPD, Patchakutik and surprisingly, the RED), it's also become very clear in this object case, that the CA is controlled directly now by Correa. I had been careful to make a distinction between Correa and the CA's President, Alberto Acosta, if not a difference between them; that doesn't appear to be the case now. The dismissal of the Dayuma complaint in the CA makes it clear that Correa's running the show in Montecristi.
The implications of all of this are clear then: CA is progressively undermining its own credibility and political and moral standing in Ecuador. I have no doubt that Correa's popularity remains quite high and that expectations for positive results from the CA are just as high. But if these sorts of open political double dealings and hypocrisy continue, I expect that Ecuadorians will have lower and lower expectations of both Correa and the CA, and sadly, lower hopes for the political future of this country.......