LATIN AMERICA: The Cocktail Coup

Ecuador, which happens to be the world's largest exporter of bananas, has often been regarded as the quintessential banana republic. Though the country has been stable for the past 3½ years, some sophisticated Ecuadorians still evaluate coups the way other people rate horses or vintage wines. Last weekend's abortive attempt to oust President Guillermo Rodriguez Lara, which left in its wake 17 people dead and 80 wounded, ranked very low on the scale. "I've never seen a coup so stupidly organized," sniffed one Quito connoisseur.

Architects of the fiasco were General Raul Gonzalez...

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