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The news that marked 2021 in Ecuador

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – These have been the news that has marked the year that is ending.


The right-wing Guillermo Lasso, leader of the Creando Oportunidades (Creo) movement, defeated Andrés Arauz, a supporter of former governor Rafael Correa (2007-2017), with more than 419,000 votes in Ecuador’s presidential elections.

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Lasso obtained some 4.7 million votes (52.36%), while Arauz – who had triumphed in the first electoral round on February 7 – received some 4.2 million votes (47.64%). Lasso replaced Lenín Moreno (2017-2021), who came to power with the support of Correa, from whom he later distanced himself and who is a follower of the so-called Socialism of the 21st Century.

The right-wing Guillermo Lasso, from a victory in Ecuador’s presidential elections to an oxygen cylinder in the investigation of the Pandora papers case (Photo internet reproduction)


Vaccination against covid-19 began with several organizational problems on January 21 during Lenín Moreno’s administration. With greater access to vaccines and better organization, inoculation was Lasso’s priority at the beginning of his administration which, as of December 24, had in its records more than 27.1 million doses applied, including first, second, and booster doses.

On December 23, the Government made the vaccine mandatory as a preventive measure against a possible worsening of the situation due to the omicron variant and increased contagions.


In 2021, Ecuador has been the scene of the death of some 300 people due to clashes between rival gangs, generally linked to drug trafficking, in prisons.

The most serious incidents occurred at the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayas province (southwest), where more than 200 inmates lost their lives in two incidents. The Ecuadorian prison system has been under a state of emergency since September 29.


In mid-December, Lasso received an oxygen cylinder in the investigation of the Pandora papers case, with the closing of the file by the Comptroller’s Office and the halt in Parliament to two motions against him for those documents, one of them for his dismissal.

The Comptroller’s Office considered no “objective elements that demonstrate” infringement of the law when Lasso registered his candidacy, endorsing the president’s allegation that he had disposed of them given the elections, in compliance with a 2017 Law. A complaint by former presidential candidate Yaku Perez for the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the president’s fiscal and patrimonial past is still open.


In the face of a series of social protests, the Government decided to suspend the gradual increase of fuels, which had been in force since Moreno’s administration, a measure that was not enough for some social movements that demanded a “freeze”.

Lasso declared as a “national priority” the granting of social interest credits at 1% annual interest and 30 years term and the end of the year announced the increase of US$ 25 -starting in 2022- for those who earn the basic salary, a decision considered as “political” by businessmen, who fear problems for the generation of new jobs.


The President of Ecuador put into effect the Economic Development and Fiscal Sustainability Law, which contains a series of fiscal reforms and seeks to raise US$1.9 billion in the next biennium.

The fiscal supplement was required for upcoming disbursements from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the continuity of the amendments that Lasso agreed with the multilateral entity after coming to power last May.


The Ecuadorian ruler announced the progressive reduction of the Tax on the Exit of Foreign Currency (ISD) with four drops of 0.25 percentage points per quarter in 2022. With the decrease of a quarter of a percentage point per quarter starting in January, it will be reduced to a rate of 4% by the end of 2022.

For Lasso, the decision will contribute to the attraction of investments, which is in addition to actions already undertaken, such as the promotion of the event “Ecuador Open For Business”, in which the country presented a portfolio of close to US$30 billion of potential investment projects in strategic sectors.


In his first months in office, Lasso announced that he aspired to double the country’s oil production in four years, but the activity was affected by problems with the transportation of crude oil.

Ecuador lost more than 500 million dollars due to the suspension of oil pumping through its pipelines from the Amazon due to natural erosion in an area of the Coca River, forcing it to import fuels. Oil is the main export product of the Andean country, and its sales finance an essential part of the national budget, around 30%.


The President of Ecuador offered at COP26 the creation of a new marine reserve of 60,000 square kilometers in the Galapagos Islands in exchange for the “largest debt-for-conservation swap in the world” and explained that his Government is studying “some proposals”, but is also analyzing other forms of financing.

The new marine reserve would be added to the “more than 130,000 square kilometers of its waters that are protected marine reserves” and, in addition, to the Galapagos National Park, which has “an area of 8,000 square kilometers and is considered by experts as the archipelago of volcanic origin in the best state of conservation in the world”.


The historic gold medals in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games in weightlifting (76 kilograms) with Neisi Dajomes (23 years old) and with the road cyclist Richard Carapaz (28 years old) became the most important news for Ecuador in 2021 since Jefferson Perez won the first gold medal in the 20-kilometer walk in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

Ecuador’s national team also stole the attention of Ecuadorians, remaining practically all year in third place in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and closing 2021 with 23 points, after Brazil and Argentina.

To close the year, Ecuador placed seventh in the overall medal standings of the First Pan American Junior Games in Cali at the beginning of December. It was fourth in South America, after Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina.

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