The struggle to build a Nation

Introduction - Political change - Economy - The oil industry - Telecomunications -
Electricity projects - Public works - The coast - Export industry - Tourism

View this report in Spanish.

From roses to oil…

Following the election of its new President in January 2003, the small Andean nation of Ecuador is truly in a transition. After years of military rule and rampant corruption, the new regime is attempting to bring order and establish long-term programs with international lenders and investors.

Although Ecuador is a small country, its diversity is astounding - the Amazonian forest merges with the coastal beaches and the Andes mountains, indigenous populations mix with the "serranos" from the plains, while military generals rub shoulders with international business executives. It is not surprising, then, that national unity was a major campaign promise of President Lucio Gutierrez, the newly elected leader of Ecuador. His goal was to bring all these political spectrums together, from the left, right and centre, in order to create a coalition that could give a new birth to this country with immense potential.

President Gutierrez

Ecuador has a great deal of proven oil reserves waiting to be explored, and its telecommunications, electricity and public works sectors are growing rapidly. Thanks to the adoption of the U.S. Dollar as official currency in January 2000, the national economy has experienced a newfound stability.

Yet there are numerous challenges to govern the country, and Gutierrez is continuously fighting to maintain the support of his coalition. This summer, he suffered a major setback when his government lost support of the Pachakutik political party, which represents Ecuador's powerful indigenous movement. The President had to re-structure his government cabinet and is now attempting to establish a new congressional alliance which would allow him to push through much-needed economic reforms.

Presidential Palace

Under these circumstances, the road ahead will not be easy, but it seems possible that Gutierrez is there to stay. He has filled the shoes of a national leader who is ready to take risks, and he has initiated a bold process of modernization, promising to build Ecuador into a strong and prosperous nation.

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