Latin America

Thrown in at the deep end, does Ecuador’s new president have what it takes?

The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged Ecuador, leaving behind a profound economic crisis. As new President Guillermo Lasso takes office, he faces a series of pressing challenges

Guillermo Lasso Ecuador
Guillermo Lasso during his inauguration. Photo: Twitter/@LassoGuillermo

Upon receiving his ceremonial sash and being sworn in as the 47th president of Ecuador this week, conservative banker Guillermo Lasso described himself as “a man who is not afraid of challenges.”

Indeed, relishing a challenge is a crucial attribute for leaders of the Andean nation. After more than 420,000 cases and 20,000 deaths, the pandemic has left Ecuador reeling. The economy shrank by 7.5 percent last year, while poverty, violence, and unemployment rates went in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, less than 3 percent of the population are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Perhaps against his nature, Mr. Lasso will...

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