View this report in Spanish.
| From roses
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.
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.
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