Ecuador. According to
Countryaah, the increase in gasoline prices and the VAT rate
included in the government's agreement with the IMF was
actualized at the beginning of the year by falling oil
prices, and the government signaled that they could be
implemented to avoid an increasing budget deficit. Despite
the violent protests with roadblocks and street
demonstrations that caused this and reached its peak on
February 7, the VAT increase was implemented in June, but
was later declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional
During the year, it was confirmed that the escalating
civil war in Colombia had penetrated across Ecuador's
borders. As pressure against guerrilla groups and
paramilitaries increased in Colombia, especially in the
Putumayo province bordering Ecuador, their operations inside
Ecuador as well as the refugee flows have increased in the
Ecuadorian border provinces of Sucumbíos and Carchi.
During the second half of the year several firefights
were fought with the Ecuadorian police, and both a cocaine
laboratory and a large military base belonging to the
Colombian FARC guerrilla were revealed.
In August, the Tungurua volcano in the central Andes
suffered an outbreak and disaster was issued. About 23,000
farmers live in the area around the volcano.
On February 20, 2002, groups of indigenous people from
the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana in the northeastern
Amazonas declared that oil production threatened their
livelihoods and therefore launched a strike. Directly
triggering the protests was a new oil pipeline built by the
OCP Ecuador SA Consortium Provinces demanded that the
government put pressure on OCP to make it pay $ 10 million.
US $ for social projects to compensate for the devastation
caused by the construction project. Also among the strikers'
demands was that Ecuador should devote a greater portion of
its oil export revenue to the building of better roads,
electricity supply and support for agriculture in the
affected areas. The strike culminated on March 4, costing 3
lives, more wounding and arrest, as well as nearly $ 3
million. US $ in losses due to the setting of oil recovery
in the area.
Two candidates advanced to the second round of the
presidential election on November 24, 2002. It was Lucio
Gutiérrez who retired from the Army. He had been granted
amnesty for his role in the rebellion against Mahuad, and
declared himself an admirer of Venezuelan President Hugo
Chávez. The other candidate was Ecuador's richest man, the
banana baron Álvaro Noboa. Gutiérrez had already obtained
more than half the votes in the first round of elections,
was supported by the left wing, the trade union movement and
the indigenous peoples' organizations, and he won the second
round with 54.3% of the vote. In his campaign, he had
pledged to fight corruption, get affordable housing and
introduce some form of free health care.
In October 2003, a lawsuit was initiated against a
subsidiary of the Chevron-Texaco oil group for the
destruction of large rainforest areas, and for pollution of
the land and rivers in the province of Nueva Loja.
On November 4, farmer activist Ángel Shingre was abducted
and killed. He had taken an active part in the lawsuit
against Chevron-Texaco, and the suspicion therefore focused
on the group's management. Despite this, the murder was not
That same month, Lucio Gutiérrez was accused of receiving
money for his drug campaign election campaign. The
allegations led to the resignation of the entire government
and the removal of the ruling party's Napoleón Villa. He was
also Gutiérrez's brother-in-law.