The fight for Freedom in Ecuador c.2001

It's been 17 years since I wrote this little Intelligence report on the state of the Free Market Movement in Ecuador. Little did I suspected back then when I came to live in Washington DC that we were going to be in the throes of Socialism of the XXI Century for a decade starting in 2007.

Ecuador is still at risk, there is much to be undone for a decade lost on a much maligned philosophy that consumed Ecuadorians, in which almost everything was lost and the country was closer than ever to become another Venezuela, another Cuba. Ecuadorians still have to fight, they have to recover economically from so much corruption, graft and waste.

Nonetheless I believe that the only reason why Ecuador was not lost at all was due to the fact that there was a small group of people that kept fighting for Freedom with ideas. They were not many before 2001, but I am sure there are many more now after living under the guise of a revolution that promised to get Ecuador out of underdevelopment and poverty at the expense of their freedom.

A younger version of me wrote this paper attached back on my early days at Atlas, it was a market analysis, first step necessary to complete my Internship at Atlas Network. It was a way of providing intelligence for Atlas so see how to help the freedom movement in Ecuador and that required to research the local market. For me it was also a way to know better what was going in my country of birth, put ideas together see what could be done.

Fortunately or unfortunately things changed and rather than returning to Ecuador I got offered to stay at Atlas for a little longer, and a little longer and longer. So far is 17 years and counting with Atlas. But that's another story, what matters and the reason for me to share this is to perhaps inspire or perhaps tell a story that while so far has up's and downs it's a story of what happened back then and what could be done again today to change things for the better.

Yes Ecuador lost a decade from 2007-2017, but I have seen that there is more interest for the ideas of Freedom. Liberty doesn't sounds as fringe as it sounded back then, perhaps what Ecuador went through was necessary to forge on fire the Freedom Movement there. Only under great duress is that stronger things come out. I am only hopeful that things will get better and younger and more enthusiastic people will have better luck than what I had back then.

Word of warning back then my English was not in great shape having arrived in March and writing this in April 2001 and although I have become a better writer and speaker I still don't feel comfortable about my English, so please accept my apologies for my language shortcomings. Some of the actors in my April 2001 report are gone they disappeared in some instances, but in others their participants never left, they just kept the fight from different institutions or through their writings in local newspapers and today are important members of the civil society that keep the fight for freedom like a beacon from their current positions.  I have added a strike-through at the end on the list of institution that have disappeared  (PDF remains unmodified).  Others have appeared but that is the work of others living currently in Ecuador to report.  In any case read below to learn a bit more about the history of The fight for Freedom in Ecuador before 2001.

Ecuador Intelligence Report

Prepared by Rómulo López-Cordero


Executive Summary
The Situation in the 80’s
The Situation in the 90’s
Opportunities, threats, and weaknesses beyond 2000
Appendix 1: The Players
Appendix 2: Market Oriented Public Policy generation and Implementation
Appendix 3: Contact Information with Think Tanks in Ecuador

The Situation in the 80’s

The aim of this report is to paint what the current situation is in Ecuador.  Before describing what is happening right now, we have to focus on the history of the libertarian movements in Ecuador.  The first prominent period happened during the eighties, but began in the late 70’s.  The second period began in 1992 and is still in progress. 
            Ecuador is a country located between Peru and Colombia.  It has 2 important cities that struggle between themselves to gain political and economic importance.  Quito is the capital of the country.  It is the official setting of many multinational firms and the center of all government activities, especially those related to the oil industry. 
Guayaquil is the second city in this struggle.  It is mainly commercial and industrial.  This city has a long history of market-oriented solutions for community problems.  For example, the oldest one is Junta de Beneficiencia de Guayaquil, which is the largest provider of welfare in the city, (in charge of 80% of the hospitals, cemetery, homes for the elderly and poor and is managed as a privately funded society).  They have managed their own operations since the beginning of the 20th century with the help of rich people donating land, which has been developed for residential use in the last 40 years. Another source of funding, and perhaps the most important one, is that they run the city’s lottery.  This lottery has been so popular that they sell it nationally.  Since 1985, the lottery has become a monopoly, and hence the only lottery allowed is the one issued by Junta de Beneficencia.  If someone else wants to sell lottery tickets, it has to first ask permission, which then in turn asks Junta de Beneficencia about the convenience of the new competitor. 
At the end of the 1970’s, after a military government, the Chambers of Commerce and the Chamber of Industries began to play a major role in the defense of the market system. The Chamber of Industries first began bringing international speakers to defend market-oriented solutions.  Former communist and co-founder of Acción Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA) from Peru, Eudocio Ravines had a small column in local newspaper “El Universo”, among other Latin American newspapers.  The Chamber’s president at that time, Leon Febres-Cordero liked his writings and encouraged one of his board members, Rómulo López-Sabando, to contact Eudocio Ravines.  Ravines was contacted and a few months later he visited Ecuador for a conference.  The speech he delivered highly motivated the entrepreneurs gathered at Chamber of Industries.  Ravines also mentioned a few more names of people who were involved in the fight for freedom.  López-Sabando established contacts with Luis Pazos, who was, at that time, a very young and successful writer of comic books aimed at defending the free market.  Pazos went to Ecuador in the early 80’s to give some speeches. He recommended Alberto Benegas Lynch, who also went to Ecuador and lectured all around the country.  These two had recommended Manuel Ayau, a successful businessman and founder of CEES, a market-oriented think tank, and Francisco Marroquin University, the first libertarian university in Latin America.  He was very busy, but invited Rómulo López-Sabando, who was then President of the Chamber of Industries, to join him at a conference in Chile.  The two became close friends.  A few years later the Mont Pelerin society selected López-Sabando as Ecuador’s first member. 
As a member or the Mont Pelerin Society he traveled to Chile, Miami, Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina and Germany where he meet Nobel Prize winner F.A. Hayek, William Hutt, and other important intellectuals. 
The Chamber of Industries began to promote free-market ideas through workshops, lectures and op-eds.  At that time, the government constantly threatened the private sector and viewed entrepreneurs as “devils” with too much power in their own hands.  This is a common story among businessmen in Guayaquil because of government interference in the form of taxes, regulations and strikes supported by the government sometimes. 
The former President of the Chamber of Industries, Leon Febres-Cordero began running for president of Ecuador.  He was the first candidate in Latin America to speak openly about his entrepreneurial spirit and that he favored free-markets.  It’s worth to remember that at that time, military governments were common in countries like Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Bolivia that were mostly leftist,
(Chilean Dictatorship was pro-market).  All the democratically elected governments in the region abjured the free markets like Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela among others.  It seemed that Ecuador was going to be the first Latin American country to vanish military coups, and that government reform would allow free markets.  The cornerstone of this movement was the Industries Chamber led by Rómulo López-Sabando, who had successfully promoted free-market reforms. 
In August 1984, Ecuador elected their first free-market president, Leon Febres-Cordero.  Relatively soon after the election, the public discovered that the new president was interested in gaining prestige and wealth for himself.  As this scandal grew, some of the free-market supporters decided to retire quietly.  They strongly disagree with the rent seekers around the president, but they wanted to save at least save the president’s image, so reforms could continue even in their presence.
Rómulo López Sabando, disappointed with these events and having finished his term as President of the Chamber of Industries, retired quietly, too.  After great negotiations with the President, López – Sabando (he did not accept at first) accepted a post in Hong Kong that would last until the end of Febres-Cordero’s government.  The first period of struggles ended with people highly disappointed with the President and with certain distrust in the free market.  In reality, there were few market reforms while monopolies and stated-owned companies continued to play an important role in the economy.  Government spending and inflation continued to grow as well. 

The Situation in the 90’s

            In 1992, Atlas fellow Dora de Ampuero returned to Ecuador after spending 15 years abroad.  She wanted to establish the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política (IEEP).  She was highly motivated after having worked for three years as an Atlas fellow while pursuing her doctorate at George Mason University. 
            Soon after her arrival, Franklin López Buenaño began to travel frequently to Ecuador.  He was teaching economics at the University of New Orleans.  He also wrote two articles a month for the local newspaper El Universo.  He was eager to get involved with Ecuadorian media and was pro-market, but he did have doubts about some market inefficiencies.  During one of his visits, he heard that there was a congressman who favored free-markets and who was also trying to reduce the size of the state through his legislative action.  Franklin López, never having met the congressman, paid him a visit at his congressional office.  That congressman was Rómulo López-Sabando.  When they met, they had an extensive chat that definitively convinced Franklin López about the advantages of free markets.  Lopez Sabando introduced Franklin to the thinking of Mises, Hayek and the Austrians, and then explained the current libertarian movement in Latin American.  Through Lopez Sabando Franklin soon met Dora de Ampuero and was introduced to her work at IEEP.
            Since the President and his Vice-President were apparently doing free-market reforms, the think tank community was regarded as non-essential.  By that time, López-Sabando was trying to get more activities for the think tank called Centro de Estudios del Ecuador “Friederich Von Hayek”.  The think tank was founded in 80’s but due to the founder’s post in Hong Kong as a Diplomat representative of Ecuador, and later his congressional work, it was mainly inactive until the end of his congressional term in 1992.  In the meantime, published along with CEES a small pamphlet.  Lopez Sabando’s think tank successfully organized a workshop with the entire newly elected congressman in 1992 along with the highly appointed authorities of the newly elected government.  The workshop called “Primer seminario sobre modernización de la sociedad y del estado (First workshop on modernization of society and society)” was so successful that the newly elected government chose the workshop’s name as the new government motto. It even created the powerful office National Council for Modernization (CONAM) as a result.  People began openly to discuss the necessity of reform and new laws to allow modernization.  Many were enacted.  However, politicians actually did the opposite things that they promised, which led Ecuador to another disastrous situations. No modernization was ever done and corruption was so high that Ecuadorian vice-president had to abandon the post because he was accused of using state funds for his personal expenses and charities.  As it happened before, people began to accuse modernization and the reduction of the state as a strategy to plunder the national wealth in favor of a few rich businessmen or a bunch of wealthy families. 
            Fortunately, Dora de Ampuero had been working diligently through without much result.  In 1996, Franklin López managed to obtain a teaching post at Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral  (ESPOL), and he was introduced to the students as the neo-liberal that the university had sought for the students, so they could study him as some kind of estrange specie that still believed in free-markets.  In reality, López convinced a lot of students about the advantages of the free-market.  Furthermore he introduced them to the Austrian and public policy “way of thinking.”  After a year with the students, he gathered them at his house along with others that he considered to be “classic liberals.”  At that meeting, Dora de Ampuero met the students, some of whom had already visited her at IEEP.  Rómulo López-Sabando was there with his two sons’, Rómulo and Juan Antonio, which were former students of Francisco Marroquín University.  The group suggested that it gather every week or every 15 days at a different house to discuss different topics.  This group came to be called Unión Etica Liberal (UEL), which is currently directed by Pablo Arosemena.  Pedro Romero, Fabian Chang, Rómulo López-Cordero and his brother Juan Antonio López, Joselo Andrade and Lena Sanchez, among others, meet every Tuesday for pizza and to talk about the ideas of liberty.  Franklin López guided the discussion at the beginning with Rómulo López-Cordero and Juan Antonio López (a former Cato Intern, and student of Armando de la Torre and others at Francisco Marroquin University).  Due to the difficulty of finding a house at which to meet and the scarcity of financial resources, Dora the Ampuero volunteered to host and support this newly formed group.
            Conditions worsened in Ecuador.  President Bucaram was considered a “mad” president, because of his indecent behavior in public.  Nonetheless he endorsed that the only way to stop inflation and curb bankruptcy of the banks was to enter into a currency box scheme.  Steve Hanke was invited by the Stock Exchange of Guayaquil to give a lecture on the currency box.  Some of Bucaram’s colleagues were at that meeting and they made contacts with the Finance Minister Domingo Cavalho of Argentina seeking his advice on the currency change and currency box.  The process was organized to begin, but Bucaram was then overthrown by his shameful behavior in public (the official reason was due to mental insanity).  Some said that it was because of his idea of controlling inflation through currency boxes and attacking the state-owned oil unions.  High levels of inflation, corruption and bankruptcy were common during the period of 1996-1998, the time immediately following the presidential overthrow. 
            Dora de Ampuero became a close friend of Joyce Higgins de Ginatta who was president of the Small Industry Chamber (CAPIG).  Together they began to organize lectures directed towards the chamber’s members.  They then focused on the general public, convincing them of market reforms as ways to alleviate turmoil generated by the political instability and increased government intervention in the economy. 
            The main problem at the time was the ever-increasing inflation due to the high government spending. IEEP and CAPIG then began to promote dollarization.  Bucaram discredited the currency box system, so a new system with a new name had to be promoted so the general public would not associate it with Bucaram’s plan. 
            Kurt Schuller (Senior Economist at the Joint Economic Committee) lectured in Ecuador.  A few others like Carlos Alberto Montaner, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, and Jose Luis Cordeiro joined the efforts to promote dollarization and free markets. 
            A new president, Jamil Mahuad, won the presidential election of 1998, election so close that many suspected fraud.  IEEP and CAPIG continued their efforts to promote dollarization.  A national debate was set up, and even though there was a lot of controversy, things began to change.  A major turning point was the government’s decision to close the banking system for 3 weeks.  When the banks re-opened, all checking and saving accounts, had been 50% frozen by decree, and all certificates of deposits were going to be frozen 100% in the next seven years.  Riots and troubles began to spur everywhere and the people withdrew all of their un-frozen money, creating a near-bankrupt banking system.  Almost all the troubled banks’ property passed to the newly created Insurance Deposit Agency (AGD). 
            At the same time, a group of young people in their early 30’s who had been gathering during the last 3 years, were currently debating the ways to politically reform the state so it would have little power to enforce the foolish policies promoted by politicians.  This group - later known as Fuerza Ecuador - was a civil society group whose main aim was to promote autonomies, a political arrangement similar to the Spanish political division, that would crack down the state power. 
            As deposits continued to freeze in banks, a huge march with twenty thousand people from the city of Guayaquil went to the city’s council.  Fuerza Ecuador led one of the groups and as result of that march it suddenly became a political option.  These people began promoting (in the province of Guayas) a referendum with a question asking the people about the convenience of separating the province as an autonomous region. 
            A group inside of Fuerza Ecuador began to feel that the movement was becoming too political, so some of them split.  Among this group were Ivan Baquerizo, Fernando Amador, Nicolas Romero and Francisco Zalles, who were generally free-market, but had their doubts.  Francisco Zalles, who had met with Franklin López at UEL meetings, defended a dollarization and introduced Franklin López to this group that were willing to form something different.  López did a great job introducing them with the classical liberal thinking and even though he did not participated directly with them, convinced this young people that something like a think tank (the war of ideas rather than the war of power) was necessary.  This led to the creation of Fundación Libertad.  Rómulo López Cordero later joined the group, as the one in charge of all the logistics and the contacts with other think tanks. 
Even with all these new groups coming to light, things continued to worsen.  People began discussing the possibility of removing the newly elected president Jamil Mahuad from power.  Nobody, of course, wanted to do it, remembering what had happened after Bucaram was ousted from the presidency.  In January 2000, as a last minute measure to save his presidency, Jamil Mahuad announced his decision to dollarize the Ecuadorian economy.  He saw dollarization as the only medicine available to curb the bleeding inflation of public’s wealth.
            The measure took everyone by surprise except for IEEP and CAPIG, who had been promoting the measure since 1998.  This gave president Mahuad another week in the office, but there was a major problem no one in the government really knew how to dollarize the economy.  There was a lot of fear with the change of money, and the highland Indians gathered to protest the measure. 
            Many people, including Fundacion Libertad’s President Francisco Zalles, Joyce de Ginatta (CAPIG) and Dora de Ampuero (IEEP), used the time to further promote dollarization. 
By the end of the week, the Indians had already surrendered the capital and were planning to march through the streets of the city to protest against the government. Suddenly, on Friday, January 20, the Indians got inside the congressional offices; they were helped by a group of colonel that were anti-government.   They were calling for a new popular government and then they occupied the Supreme Court building.  They continued their march -70.000 Indians- to the presidential palace. Around midnight, the colonels and the Indians negotiated with the high ranks of the military forces and agreed to overthrow Mahuad.
Many of the Guayaquileños had mixed feelings. Some thought that the best way to cope with this new coup was to secede from the country if the leftist Indians took power.  Others thought they should fight against this New Leftist government.  The next morning everyone was shocked but happy as the Vice-President (Gustavo Noboa) took power.  The military was no longer divided between the colonel and the generals, and there was no revolutionary popular government commanded by the Indians.  One of the first measures of Noboa’s presidency was to continue with dollarization.  Dollarization continued since the public was not in support of a leftist government or a reunited military government. 
The process of dollarization has been occurring in Ecuador for about a year, and while government’s portion of the work was well done, they have yet done anything else toward the process.  The general feeling is that dollarization has not curbed inflation (actually, there is a lag between prices that have not been corrected because of fixed prices).  No measure in favor of privatization or opening the markets has been done.  State monopolies sot the entire country.  Finally there is the public ignorance that believe that Ecuador is living a neo-liberal, free market economy because a dollarization process has happened.  The government wants to introduce a tax reform that would simplify the taxation system, but at the same time, it would raise taxes.  The finance minister opposes dollarization and supports some kind of currency box agreement.  He is great believer of Keynesian economics and finds the system dolarized system too difficult and complex. 
As we have seen the late 90’s has seen the growth of this new market-oriented groups, like UEL, Fundación Libertad and politically oriented ones like Fuerza Ecuador.  While most of this story has taken place mostly in Guayaquil, there are people in Quito involved in the freedom movement.   Universidad San Francisco, has a pro free-market president, who is deeply involved in promoting “popular capitalism”.  Quito relies more heavily on the labor of individuals rather than groups because Quito has a long tradition of turning to the state for problem solving. 

Opportunities, Threats, and Weaknesses Beyond 2000

            While Ecuador current situation is worse than ever, there are many opportunities that await action.  The situation, in this sense, is much better now, even though libertarians may have little of the political power that they gained at the beginning of the 80’s. 
            Ecuador is a country with a deep leftist intellectual tradition.  Most of the universities are infected with Keynesian economics dogma.  Research done at universities defends the state’s role or defends mixed solutions.  The amount of state owned companies is overwhelming, and there are large unions with huge amounts of power to stop the productive activities around the country. 
Since 1992, the country has seen the growing power of the Indian movement whose main objective is to preserve the dignity of the Indian heritage, interestingly enough, European (mostly from Germany, Sweden, Norway) charities and foundations, support them, them money, providing education, and sometimes weapons.  Their ideological orientation is leftist and mostly racial.  Their leaders say that they see the Marxist class racial fight, and the poor people pitted against the rich.  They were successful in gathering large amounts of Indians in 1992 to commemorate the 500 years of oppression and invasion of the white race.  In the central provinces of the highlands, where there is a large Indian population, they had managed to organize their communities differently from the legal establishment.  Their decisions are mainly done by vote of the community, but sometimes they are highly influenced by the Marxist thought of their leaders.  In 1996-1997, they played a major role in overthrowing President Bucaram.  They were definitively the leaders in the military – Indian coup that overthrew President Mahuad.  Now they claim more power and every time the government tries or even announce its intentions to open markets, privatize, or sell state-owned companies, they begin to protest.  The last protest coerced President Noboa into signing an agreement that would give them millions of dollars in subsidies and state funded programs because the Indians surrendered the capital and threatened the government.
            On the other hand, Ecuador is home to entrepreneurs that have seen their wealth diminished by state policies, like inflation, high taxes and poor protection of property rights.  These people are not affiliated with any political or ideological group.  Most of them are trying to lobby at the government level to issue laws that protect their wealth.  The problem is that these laws are usually discriminatory, giving them special privileges over the rest of the population.  This resulted in a moral hazard, comparable to the creation of the insurance deposit agency (AGD) that aimed to protect the banks and the public from bankruptcy.  What actually happened (after 3 years of being created) is that 70% of the banking sector now belongs to the state, inflation has been created to cover the deposits of all the clients, and the bankers (while they had lost their ownership of the bank) did not lose their personal wealth.   All of this has been paid through the issue of money, huge government deficit and the generalized lost of wealth.
            This has created a feeling that something needs to be done.  Issues are polarized, and part of the public believes that Ecuador needs more of the same policies that were implemented in the last 20 years.  Of course these policies would have to be enforced more strictly.  There does remain a small group of people who believe in market-oriented solutions.
            In the appendix you will find a detailed description of each one of the groups that has been mentioned in this report.


As we have seen throughout this intelligence report, the prospects for libertarian thought are good.  The main problem of libertarianism has been the lack of informed people and the heavy socialist, Keynesian tradition among politicians and intellectuals.  According to Armando de la Torre, Ecuador has one of the most intellectual socialist traditions among the countries he has visited. 
            The only way to overcome this problem is with education.  Many efforts are being conducted but always, the main problem is finding the financial resources and the intellectual support of local entrepreneurs, especially at these times in which many of them are in financial trouble.  The most hazardous mistake is to get involved with politicians, that might not do what they promised and will hurt the movement as it happen back in 1985 and led to a 10 years delay in support for free markets movements.

Appendix 1

The Players

Cámara de Comercio de Guayaquil(CCG)

            This is an important interest group, whose main objective is to fight for the freedom and interest of the businesses.  It is a very old institution and has had a dominant position in the early 80’s along with the Camara de Industrias de Guayaquil.  They fought against the government attacks on free enterprise.  They have many initiatives like a formation center for their associates and a database for businesses outside Ecuador. But nonetheless they are not devoted to free-markets in the same was as they were in the 80’s.

Cámara de Industrias de Guayaquil (CIG)

            CIG is an interest group, whose main objective is to defend the interest of their members mainly in the industrial sector.  In the early and mid 80’s, they had a dominant role in fighting for liberty and free enterprise.  From this group, many free market- speakers from other countries, like Luis Pazos, Manuel Ayau, Alberto Benegas Lynch, Eudocio Ravines, Arnold Harberger, delivered powerful speeches to defend the free market.  One of their presidents became President of Ecuador (Leon Febres Cordero), and he has had strong leadership under Rómulo López Sabando’s guidance.  After a few years of disappointment, due to Febres Cordero’s presidency, the CIG, lost it’s leadership. 
            Under the current president, Francisco Alarcón, they have been defending the free market without enthusiasm, and they have promoted a new law to protect national industries from the fierce competition of their counterparts in the Andean Region.

Cámara de la Pequeña Industria del Guayas (CAPIG)

            This interest group is relatively new (No more than 15 years).  Under it’s leadership, this group has gained a national presence.  It has supported workshops with people like Carlos Alberto Montaner, José Luis Cordeiro, Kurt Schuler, Luis Pazos, Manuel Enrique Hinds, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, and other classic liberal speakers.  CAPIG’s president Joyce de Ginatta was one of the most forceful defenders of dollarization, along with Dora de Ampuero (IEEP), Francisco Zalles (FL), and Franklin López. 
            They mostly do workshops that defend free markets and entrepreneurships, but even this is a institution with a big staff, it is mostly a one man operation.

Centro de Estudios del Ecuador “Friederich Von Hayek” (Hayek)

            Rómulo López-Sabando set up this group in the 80’s and now is being directed by his son Juan Antonio. It aimed at being a think tank that would defend liberty and free markets.  It too is a one-man operation.  From 1991-94, it co-published (with CEES) a libertarian pamphlet.  It also organized two workshops in 1992 and in 1993.  The first one -a highly successful event- focused on the congressman and newly elected government officers at the government. This group has a web page, but it remains rather inactive due to the lack of funds and the economic crisis in Ecuador.

Fuerza Ecuador (FE)

            This group began meeting in 1995 to discuss the problems that were growing in the mid 90’s.  They first meeting was at Rodolfo Baquerizo Nazur’s house (a well known populist politician, but who favored market oriented solutions).  And they began to have meetings weekly.  Through their ideology was not yet defined, they all agreed on free-market ideas.  They decided that the best way to solve problems in Ecuador was to defend the idea of autonomous regions, similar to those in Spain.  They began to promote these autonomies by gathering signatures and calling for a local referendum that would ask the people if they were willing to live in such a political system.  In 1998, there was a protest against the government’s disastrous economic policy; Humberto Mata announced his intention to become the first “Prefecto” governor of the autonomous region –a decision to be made at the polls- few months later.  The referendum for an autonomous region was won by 95% of the vote.  Although Mata personally lost the election, he continued to promote and defend autonomous regions, which were not enforced by the local or national government.   FE is a member of the international liberal party. 

Fundación Libertad Guayaquil (FLG)      

            A group of people within FE decided that the movement had become too political. The only way to change things was through the “war of ideas” and policies.  As a result, Fundación Libertad began in 2000.  The President of the Foundation is Francisco Zalles.  They have a broad participation of other free-market advocates like Rómulo López-Cordero, a former Francisco Marroquin student, Fabian Chang, member of UEL (see below), Pedro Romero (UEL), Joselo Andrade (UEL), and Franklin López. 
            This group seeks to do policy research and organize policy workshops.  They already have a column at “El Telegrafo”, the oldest newspaper in the country and a radio show that is being aired every Saturday from 10 AM.  They are planning an event that will have the Nobel prize winner, Robert Mundell as its keynote, for the first time in Ecuador. 
            Other members of the Board of FLG are Ivan Baquerizo, Nicolas Romero, Fernando Amador, who had been the most active developers of the organization.

Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política (IEEP)

            Dora de Ampuero set up this think tank after she returned to Ecuador in 1992.  She was a fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for 3 years, while she was a PHD student at George Mason University. 
            She conducts 3 or 4 workshops every year.  She is very enthusiastic and her attitude has led to her success at promoting dollarization over the last three years.  The cornerstone of her work was President Mahuad’s decision to dollarize. 
            Even though that her think tank has been successful she does not have an able staff to carry on IEEP’s mission if she retires.  She has been trying to build up the staff, but has not succeeded in her efforts.  It still continues to be a one-man operation.  Perhaps her greatest trouble is with fundraising, as IEEP is dependant on a small base of donors.  The prospects of this institute are good if she manages to overcome her funding and staff problems.

Unión Ética Libertaria (UEL)

            This group was formed under the auspices of Franklin López and has managed to keep a schedule of weekly meetings.  This group is an informal one, but has enthusiastic members that discuss topics, like free markets Austrian economics and objectivism.  They recently began having philosophy classes every Wednesday night.  They had a discussion forum on the Internet with more than one hundred subscribers throughout Latin America.  Pablo Arosemena, who was an Atlas Fellow in the spring 2000, directs this group.  It has very active members like Eduardo Bonilla, Gregorio Argomedo (webmaster of the discussion forum in the Internet from Chile), Joselo Andrade, Lena Sanchez, Jimmy Roman, Fabian Chang, Pablo Romero, and others.  This group is one of the most promising ones to promote the libertarian thought in Ecuador.

Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo (UEES)

            This university was established in 1991 and has seen a steady growth in its student body.  Even though it has no ideological orientation it tends to favor free markets.  The dean of the economics department, Fidel Marquez, is a former student of the Universidad de la Havana, who participated in an exchange program with Francisco Marroquín University.  The program allows students to get in contact with libertarian and Austrian thought. 
            They have done a few workshops, in defense of free markets in the banana industry and in defense of the autonomous provinces approach that was being threatened by CORDES, a socialist, Keynesian think tank in the city of Quito.

Universidad Jefferson de Guayaquil (UJ)

            This university was created in 1998 under the sponsorship of Fundación Jefferson -an educational group with 20 years of experience with schools and colleges- and the leadership of Romulo Lopez Sabando.  The President of the University is Rómulo López Sabando.  Its approach is libertarian and Austrian. 
            It has a solid financial structure, due to the entrepreneurship of the foundation’s founder, Norberto Nuremberg.  The main problem with this university is that even though it is libertarian, thanks to its President Rómulo López Sabando, it’s staff its mainly unaware sometimes, and most of the time resistant to the libertarian approach.  This has led the university to have a huge trouble finding teachers that are prone to free markets.  The prospect of this university is big if it manages to overcome its lack of libertarian teachers.

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ)

            This university was established in 1991.  Its founder, Santiago Gangotena, is considered himself an anarchist and favorable to libertarian thought.  He has managed to build a prestigious and highly academic university, with more than 70% of its teaching staff holding the highest degree in their field (PhD usually). 
            Now he is involved with promoting popular capitalism as a way to sell the idea of free markets.  The main problem with this university is that, even thought they have high academic standards among their teaching staff, many of them are unaware of free-market thought.  Few are even against it.   Prospects are good if they try for a more market-oriented vision, rather than being something exclusive of their president and a few others. 

Appendix 2

Market-Oriented Public Policy Generation and Implementation

See PDF for graphic.

Appendix 3

Contact Information for institutions mentioned in this report:

Trade Associations

Camara Pequeña Industria/Chamber of Small Industry (CAPIG)

Joyce de Ginatta, President
Ave. de las Américas 128, frente al Aeropuerto
Phone: 593-4281524
FAX: 593-4280059
P.O.BOX: 10696
Guayaquil - Ecuador
Institutional Web site: http://www.pymesecuador.com/

Camara de Comercio de Guayaquil

Joaquín Cevallos, President
Web Page : www.lacamara.org

Camara de Industrias de Guayaquil

Mr. Francisco W. Alarcon, President
Web Site: http://www.camaraindustriasguay.com/


Universidad Jefferson (UJ)

Km. 6 Via A La Costa
P.O.Box 09-01-4180
Guayaquil, Ecuador, S.A
Phone: 593-4870553, 593-4873787
Fax: 593-4870577

Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo (UEES)

Carlos Ortega Maldonado, President
Campus Guayaquil: Av.Juan Tanca Marengo Km. 2,5
Phone:593-4887200 ext.225-237
P.O.BOX. 09-01-4842

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ)

Santiago Gangotena G., President
Av. Diego de Robles y Pampite. (Via Interoceánica). Quito-Ecuador
Phone: 593-2895073; 593-2895724; 593-2895725
Fax: 593-2890070
Web Page:

Think Tanks

Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política (IEEP)

Dora de Ampuero, Director

Higueras 106 y M. Rendón S. Guayaquil, Ecuador

Phone: 593-4881011

Email: dampuero@ecua.net.ec

Fundacion Libertad Guayaquil (FLG)

Francisco Zalles, President
Av. 9 de Octubre #1911 y Esmeraldas,
Edif. Finansur Piso 20
Guayaquil – Ecuador
Phones: 593-4972531
Fax: 593-4372533
Email: libertad@ec.telconet.net

Centro de Estudios del Ecuador Friederich Von Hayek (HAYEK)

Juan Antonio López Cordero; President
Phone: 593-9-759017
P.O. Box: 09-01-4934
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Web Page: www.fundacionhayek.itgo.com

Discussion Groups

Unión Etico Libertaria (UEL)

Pablo Arosemena, President

e-mail: plimo@hotmail.com

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