February 17, 2004

Parcel bomb detonates outside Finance Ministry

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) --A small parcel bomb exploded outside a building that houses the
finance minister's office, shattering doors and windows but causing no injuries, police
said Tuesday.

Pamphlets scattered by the Monday night explosion denounced President
Lucio Gutierrez's economic austerity policies and attributed the explosion to a
previously unknown group calling itself the Armed Revolutionary Left, police

Gutierrez has been criticized in largely impoverished Ecuador for meeting
International Monetary Fund demands for cuts in subsidies and other measures
to shore up the country's finances and help it qualify for loans.

Finance Minister Mauricio Pozo, who was headed to Washington to meet with
IMF representatives, was not in his third-floor office at the time of the blast in a
bank building housing finance ministry offices in the heart of Quito's commercial
and financial district.

The bomb shattered the building's glass doors and several ground-floor

During the past two years, more than half a dozen parcel bombs have been
detonated in Quito and Ecuador's largest city, the port of Guayaquil.

The bombers have used several similar-sounding leftist revolutionary names to
identify themselves.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.