Daniel Noboa, the youngest elected Ecuadorian president will take office on November 23, facing what is considered by many an impossible situation. His assumption of the presidency could be the start of season two of a series that would stun the writers of House of Cards or Succession. If you have not followed Ecuador's presidential race, you have missed one of the most dramatic political stories of our time.
Noboa's life reads like a movie script: an heir to one of the biggest fortunes of a remote country goes to NYU and Harvard, then returns to become a successful entrepreneur. To save his country, he joins his compatriots in a crusade against corruption and is elected president at 35. And the story of opposing candidate Fernando Villavicencio is even more intense.
Faced with a political crisis brought on by a corruption scandal, President Guillermo Lasso dissolved Congress and resigned his office. Two candidates, both political neophytes, embraced the anti-corruption flag and gained large followings: Daniel Noboa and Fernando Villavicencio, a prominent investigative journalist who exposed government corruption. His coverage of the "Bribes Case," a corruption network involving high-ranking officials, and dedication to promoting transparency and accountability made Villavicencio a notable figure in Ecuadorian society. His followers saw him as the only candidate who could eradicate corruption.
In a dramatic twist of events, at a rally held just days before the election, Villavicencio was assassinated. Amid the chaos, seven individuals were detained. And just as the investigation began, each of the seven was murdered in prison. The FBI became involved and the US Department of State offered a $5 million reward for those responsible. Given their mistrust of Ecuadorian authorities, his family handed over evidence, including his cellular telephone, to the FBI.
The election was seen as a referendum on the escalating violence of the previous three years, when killings, kidnappings, and other crimes had become disturbingly commonplace. Experts claim Ecuador has become the epicenter of an international drug operation, with criminal groups from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the Balkans establishing operations and collaborating with the local cartels.
President-elect Daniel Noboa is confronted with the daunting challenge of quelling endemic corruption amidst a drug-fueled crime surge.