Ecuador. After almost a year of intense political debate, on November 4, a request was made for the initiation of a judicial process against President Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa. The president has long been accused of embezzling public funds and receiving illegal contributions from Mexico for his presidential campaign. However, the decision on national law has been delayed as the opposition has not been able to guarantee the 67 votes for Gutiérrez Borbúa’s dismissal as the Constitution requires. Opposition to him includes several of his former alliance partners, including Ecuador’s strong Native American movements, which accuse him of betraying his election promises, pursue a hostile economic policy and misconduct the important oil industry.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Ecuador is 17,643,065 people in 2020. The elevated political temperature reached its climax on November 16, when riots erupted in the Congress plenary. President’s brother Gilmar Gutiérrez Borbúa beat one opponent and another member drew guns. The dissatisfaction with the president was also reflected in the mayoral election on October 17, when his party PSP (Partido Sociedad Patriótica) only won in two small provincial capitals in the Amazon, while the opposition won in the capital Quito and the largest city of Guayaquil. Even Vice President Alfredo Palacio marked distances to Gutiérrez Borbúa by declaring himself responsible for the election promises made by the President but left unfulfilled.
The last Ecuadorian president to face the threat of national law was 1997, when Abdalá Bucaram was forced to resign, and in 2000 President Jamil Mahuad was ousted after a protest storm led by, among others, Gutiérrez Borbúa, then chief of the army.
1992 Right wing to power. Rollback of reforms
In the first rounds of elections in April 1992, the right wing parties PSC and PUR entered respectively. a first and a second place. President Febres Cordero was elected mayor of the port city of Guayaquil with 70% of the votes cast. The 2nd round of elections on July 5 was won by Sixto Durán Ballén. The center-left and the left contributed to his victory as he was considered a lesser evil than the counter-candidate Nebot’s authoritarian politics.
The new government launched a program, called “modernizing the state,” which aimed at privatizing state-owned enterprises and a strict structural adjustment policy. It included the abolition of subsidies, price increases and the release of prices for basic goods – including gasoline and other petroleum products – as well as limiting wage increases to below the level of inflation.
The opposition in parliament, the Native American organization CONAIE and the national organization FUT sharply criticized this policy, which led to increased poverty, unemployment and the complete abolition of social benefits. Real wages continued to fall, and in 1993, average urban wages were just 21.4% of the purchasing power it had in 1980.
Central conflicts unfolded around the privatization of social security, electricity supply, telecommunications and oil. Opposition was strengthened as it succeeded in forming the Front in defense of the national supremacy (Frente por la Defensa de la Soberanía Nacional), which consisted of the unions from the most strategic areas, CONAIE and other social organizations.
The privatization legislation that would open up more massive privatizations had to be changed repeatedly. In this context, the most important party in the parliament PSC had a decisive influence. For ideological reasons, the party strongly advocated privatization, but nonetheless advocated a softer line to avoid paying excessive political costs that could adversely affect the 1996 elections.
Meanwhile, the economy continued its protracted downturn. GDP fell and so did export revenue. This was particularly true of banana exports, which were hit by import restrictions imposed by the EU in 1993. Only construction and oil production were kept free from the economic downturn. The government issued new oil exploration permits and planned the construction of a new oil pipeline. Resolutions sharply criticized by the opposition, concerned about the environmental impact and depletion of oil reserves.