Conservative businessman Guillermo Lasso was sworn in as Ecuador’s new president on Monday, delivering a mourning speech at a congress on the great economic and social challenges facing his government.
The 65-year-old man who surprised everyone to win last month’s election, said Ecuador’s previous leaders had failed the country by succumbing to the temptation of authoritarianism, “indecent worship” leader:– a strong man who so often dominated Latin American politics.
“Today we are accepting a country with a historic level of unemployment, a country that has stood out for its inability to fight the severe epidemic,” he told visiting dignitaries, including Brazilian President Air Bolsonaro and King Felipe of Spain. “Other countries in similar situations have tackled it in a better, more efficient way, first and foremost without corruption.”
Weakened, walking on a stick, following a walking accident in 2013, followed by spotted surgery, Lasso faces huge challenges as the leader of Ecuador.
Lasso, who had his fortune in the banking sector before entering politics, winning his third attempt as president, described Ecuador as “a country where the guilty fill their pockets, while the most innocent, the newborn Ecuadorians, can not even fill their bellies.” a country that has failed its youth in creating education and opportunities. ”
The country’s economy was in trouble even before the coronavirus epidemic. Last year it fell by almost 8%, and the Central Bank predicts that this year the recovery rate will be only 3.1%.
Debt jumped to about 65 percent of gross domestic product, and the fiscal deficit widened. As the only officially dollarized country in South America, Ecuador is limited to what it can do to stabilize its finances.
It was agreed last year $ 6.5 billion loan program With the IMF, but as the hit of the epidemic, he found that it could not meet the requirements. Lasso refused to take into account some of the tax increases demanded by the fund.
He has appointed 53-year-old economist Simon Kuja as his finance minister.
“It means a lot,” said Sebastian Hurtado, Prófitas’ local political risk advisory director. “Apart from the short-sightedness of the central bank, Kuan spent most of his time in the private sector doing academic research. “He is not as neoliberal as other economists like Lasso. We can focus more on social policy than we could have expected.”
Cueva said Ecuador would begin talks with the IMF in the coming months to revise its current program.
“I expect the Lasso government to have a healthy relationship with the foundation,” Hurtado said. “The problem will not be reaching an agreement. It will be implemented. “
Another immediate challenge facing the Lasso government is the epidemic.
According to the Financial Times, Ecuador has the second worst mortality rate in the world. The answer was yes chaoticHe has been the Minister of Health for five years.
Lasso said his government would oversee the vaccination of 9 million people, more than half the population, in its first 100 days, an ambitious goal for a country with less than 2 million rulers.