POLITICS

South America Joins Forces Against Coups

Ecuadorean Presidential candidate Rafael Correa greets supporters during his closing campaign rally in Quito, Ecuador, on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2006. Elections will be on Sunday Oct. 15. (AP Photo/Cecilia Puebla)

Ecuadorean Presidential candidate Rafael Correa greets supporters during his closing campaign rally in Quito, Ecuador, on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2006. Elections will be on Sunday Oct. 15. (AP Photo/Cecilia Puebla)

Two months after a police revolt in Ecuador that President Rafael Correa said was an attempt to overthrow him, South American leaders are planning a democratic charter to help them respond to an attempted coup.

The planned charter was announced by Guyana's foreign minister on Wednesday ahead of a regional summit.

"We have to recommit ourselves to democracy in South America," said Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.

Rodrigues-Birkett spoke a day before a group of presidents including Correa, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are expected to arrive in Guyana for a summit of the Union of South American Nations, or UNASUR.

Correa is expected to describe the revolt in which about a dozen people died and 270 were wounded. The uprising was led by police upset over a new law that would deny them promotion bonuses.

Correa and other leaders also are expected to talk about their vision for the proposed charter. The Organization of American States has its own "Inter-American Democratic Charter" to address coup threats. It was not clear how the new charter for the 12-nation bloc would differ from that: details have not been released.

UNASUR was created in May 2008 to serve as a continental parliament and defense union that Chavez has described as a counterweight to the United States. Some members of the OAS see UNASUR as a complement to the Washington-based organization, while others view it as a potential replacement.

Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, who died last month, was UNASUR's first leader.

A replacement has not been named, although Rodrigues-Birkett said nominations will be considered during the summit.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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