He was about to undergo neurosurgery for a tumor of the meninges, but former President Gustavo Noboa had space among his concerns to think about the future of his country. “On Sunday vote with conscience and God bless Ecuador,” he published on Twitter, at 83 years old, three days before the operation and thanking for the good wishes received. That message summarized two of the most recognized facets, that of a democrat and that of a Catholic, of the former Ecuadorian head of state who died this Tuesday of a heart attack at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, in the United States. He was recovering well from the surgery on February 9, which was scheduled two days after the election.
Gustavo Noboa became president of the Andean country in January 2000 amid a political and economic turmoil. Jamil Mahuad had been overthrown by the military, who, in the interests of national stability, deposed control and handed it over to the then vice president. It was ratified by Parliament, then called the National Congress and served the entire remaining term of the mandate, playing a key role in national stabilization. He had to ratify and put the Ecuadorian economy on track, which had just adopted the dollar as its currency after the painful episode of the 1999 banking holiday, when millions of people emigrated to Spain and Italy. It also faced the reconstruction of coastal areas devastated by the El Niño phenomenon.
“Beloved friend, respected democrat, youth moral builder, patriot. My condolences to his family and friends ”, declared the president, Lenín Moreno, upon hearing the news of the death. Then he announced national mourning from this Wednesday. Like Moreno, Gustavo Noboa had to renegotiate the country’s foreign debt after the moratorium in which the Mahuad Administration delivered. That decision later led to one of the hardest periods of his life. The justice ordered prison against him for supposed embezzlement of funds, a “persecution”, in his own words, which came from the Government of León Febres Cordero.
He received asylum in the Dominican Republic for two years, between 2003 and 2005, until he was able to return to Ecuador. His last public message, also on social networks, revealed his desire to improve despite the fact that it was the second time he had to face a brain tumor. “I am in recovery and we are moving forward.” His family confirmed that the heart attack took place while he was still admitted to the hospital. Married, with six children, he was a benchmark in Ecuadorian politics for his moderation and prudence when analyzing the current evolution. “I’m sorry to excuse myself, I’m out of the political arena,” he told EL PAÍS, when asked about the political turn Lenín Moreno was taking, after distancing himself from Rafael Correa.
In addition to being vice president, he was governor of the province of Guayas and had great influence in the academy. The doctor of Jurisprudence and professor from Guayaquil held the position of rector of the Universidad Católica Santiago de Guayaquil for a decade (1986-1996) and from that time he garnered recognition as a youth trainer that today everyone, politicians, businessmen, journalists or students, stand out in their messages of condolence.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.