Thursday, September 25, 2008
Funny Moments in Ecuador: Lucio, Liquor and Gringo Advisories
In the lead up to Sunday's referendum on Ecuador's proposed constitution, things are getting strange for me.
First, I had a breakfast interview with (popularly overthrown) former President Lucio Gutiérrez. Among the most entertaining things he said was that Correa wanted to have a homosexual love affair with his Political Coordinator Ricardo Patiño. Seriously. This was somehow part of a critique of legalizing civil unions for gay couples. This is the best that the opposition has to offer--along with shadowy Guayaquil mayor Jaime Nebot.
Then I got this from the US Embassy. They advise US citiznes to stay away from basically everywhere (!), which is hilarious given the total tranquility in the streets of Quito...I think the most important part of the announcement is reminding gringos to stock up on liquor now (Ecuador goes dry for three days starting tomorrow) before the election "dry laws" kick in.
I just got back from the store. If McCain doesn't get away with dodging the debate, I have an important American tradition to engage in tomorrow: drunkenly yelling at the television screen.
The U.S. Embassy Ecuador wishes to inform American citizens visiting or resident in Ecuador that today, September 25, is the final day of political campaigning associated with the referendum. It is anticipated that throughout the day there will be substantial political activity in the forms of marches, caravans, demonstrations, etc. The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens avoid the downtown area, specifically the following locations: Plaza Grande, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de Santo Domingo, San Blas, El Ejido Park, Alameda Park, El Arbolito Park, Shyris Avenue near Carolina Park, and the areas near the Central University. These locations are likely to see activity. The political campaigns officially end at 12:00am on Thursday, September 25.
A prohibition on alcohol consumption starts Friday, September 26, at 12:00pm and ends on Monday, September 29, at 12:00pm. Additionally, the U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens maintain a low profile on the day of the referendum, September 28. American citizens are strongly urged to avoid large gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. While protests/demonstrations are generally nonviolent here in Ecuador, they can turn violent and require a police response. If you find yourself near a protest/demonstration, the U.S. Embassy recommends immediately departing the area. Foreigners are prohibited from protesting in Ecuador and may be subject to arrest for participating in demonstrations of any kind. The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the situation and keep American citizens apprised of any further developments.