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Open Letter to Dialogue's Michael Shifter re Ecuador's Lucio Guitiérrez

By Sebastián Albuja-Bayas

Washington D.C, June 17, 2005
Mr. Michael Shifter
Vice President for Policy
Inter-American Dialogue
1211 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Shifter:

I am writing to you in regard to the Inter American Dialogue’s recent invitation to Lucio Guitiérrez, former president of Ecuador, who has declined political asylum, extended to him by Brazil, and is currently approaching several private, public and international organizations in the United States to pursue his own political agenda.

As an Ecuadorian citizen, I am deeply concerned that Mr. Gutiérrez’ agenda in the U.S. seeks to mislead the international community about the actual political state of affairs in Ecuador. Mr. Gutiérrez’ distorted version of the facts portrays him as a frail victim of a political conspiracy orchestrated by perverse “oligarchic” factions. This is, however, far from true.

Mr. Gutiérrez was ousted from his post as a result of widespread and pressing popular dissatisfaction about his corrupt, authoritarian and nepotistic administration. It was the citizenry, mobilized by no force other than its own determination, which ultimately brought Mr. Gutiérrez’ tenure to an end. It was the citizenry, acting from within, that rejected Mr. Gutiérrez’ unconstitutional and corrupt administration.

During his recent political tour throughout the U.S. —conducted while on a tourist visa— Mr. Gutiérrez had the audacity to call Mr. Palacio and his regime an administration of “golpistas,” who have “violated the Constitution.” Let us not forget that Mr. Gutiérrez himself actively participated in the “golpe de Estado” of January 21st, 2000, which ended with the Presidency of Jamil Mahuad. Further, let us not forget that it was Mr. Gutiérrez, while he was President of Ecuador, who egregiously violated the Constitution when he and his ad -hoc political party orchestrated the suspension of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Tribunal. Finally, let us recall that Mr. Gutiérrez ordered the brutal police repression of the otherwise peaceful demonstrations against him in Quito, in direct violation of the most basic human rights of Ecuadorian citizens.

I deeply regret that Mr. Gutiérrez has been given the opportunity in several fora in the U.S that have allowed him to pursue his political agenda and that have, intentionally or not, aided him in acquiring political visibility and momentum. However, I do commend the Dialogue’s latest statements regarding Mr. Gutiérrez’ past and present political status. Finally, I strongly encourage and kindly request the Dialogue to further reject and condemn Mr. Gutiérrez’ political assertions, so that the latest efforts to rebuild Ecuador’s institutions and democracy will not be undermined.

Best regards,

Sebastián Albuja-Bayas, J.D
Fulbright Scholar
2000 L Street NW, Suite 620
Washington D.C 20036

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