On Thursday, November 23rd, Daniel Noboa, heir to a prominent banana business empire, was officially sworn in as Ecuador’s president, marking a new chapter in the nation’s political landscape. The 35-year-old Noboa, who won a run-off vote in October, steps into leadership with a commitment to tackle the country’s escalating violence and economic woes.
Noboa’s inauguration, held in Quito and attended by Colombian President Gustavo Petro, comes after former President Guillermo Lasso called snap elections to avoid possible impeachment. Noboa, who will serve the remaining 18 months of Lasso’s term, faces the daunting task of steering Ecuador through a period marked by economic challenges and a surge in drug-related violence.
In his maiden speech to the National Assembly, Noboa laid out his vision for Ecuador, emphasizing the urgent need to create jobs and fight violence. “To fight violence, we must fight unemployment; the country needs jobs, and to create them, I will send urgent reforms to the assembly,” he stated. This approach reflects Noboa’s focus on addressing the root causes of the country’s security issues.
Ecuador, once considered one of the safest countries in the region, has seen a dramatic rise in violence in recent years, driven by rival drug-trafficking groups. The bloodshed reached a peak with the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, highlighting the severity of the crisis. Reports from the Ecuadorian Observatory of Organised Crime indicate around 3,600 murders so far this year, underscoring the urgency of Noboa’s security agenda.
Noboa, born into wealth in the port city of Guayaquil, is not new to the challenges of leadership. With a degree in business administration and three master’s degrees, he has been a part of the family business since creating his own events company at 18. His father, Alvaro Noboa, who unsuccessfully ran for president five times, did not attend the ceremony.
The new president’s political journey is also marked by strategic alliances. His National Democratic Action alliance, which won only 17 of 137 parliamentary seats in the October election, has now aligned with the leftist movement of former President Rafael Correa and the right-wing Social Christian Party. This coalition aims to secure a majority for key political appointments, indicating Noboa’s pragmatic approach to governance.
As Noboa embarks on his presidency, Ecuadorians look on with hope and apprehension. His tenure will be a test of his ability to navigate the complex interplay of economic recovery and security in a nation eager for stability and growth.