A bomb exploded late Monday night at the headquarters of Ecuador’s socialist PAIS Alliance Party, according to a report Tuesday. The explosion caused significant damage to the building in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, but no one was injured in the attack.
Ecuadorian authorities have yet to comment on potential suspects or the motivations behind the attack, state-owned Venezuelan news service teleSUR reported. The bombing occurred amid unrest between the government of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who leads the PAIS Alliance party, and opposition groups that have expressed dissatisfaction with a series of proposed tax reforms.
“This was not a household item, but a high-caliber bomb, strategically placed to destroy the entire first floor of the building,” said PAIS Alliance legislator Bairon Valle, according to teleSUR. “We are concerned about divisive acts like this, which send messages of terror…it’s a clear message the will is not there to discuss the issues, but rather to create commotion,” he added.
Correa’s regime has drawn heavy criticism from Ecuador’s unions and opposition groups in recent weeks. Several groups have joined together to stage a “people’s national strike," planned for next month to protest changes in state contributions to Ecuador’s pension funds. Proposed increases to Ecuador’s tax rates on capital gains and inheritance generated such outrage that Correa tabled the bills until after Catholic Pope Francis’ visit to the country earlier this month. Correa has eyed protests with increasing suspicion and went as far this month as to accuse opposition leaders of a coup attempt.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) July 10, 2015
In March, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Ecuador’s capital city of Quito to protest a Correa-backed plan to end term limits for the country’s elected officials, the New York Times reported. Under Ecuador’s current constitution, Correa would leave office in 2017, at the end of his current term.
Despite the protests, Correa has remained a popular figure within Ecuador. His approval rating among the country’s citizens typically hovers between 60 and 85 percent, the Washington Post reported.