Inheritance of Banana Empire Propels Daniel Noboa to Victory in Ecuador’s Contentious Presidential Election

by Lucas Garcia
Ecuador Presidential Election

Daniel Noboa, a political neophyte and the scion of a fortune rooted in the banana industry, has emerged as the winner in Ecuador’s tumultuous presidential runoff election, which was marred by an unprecedented level of violence, including the assassination of a candidate.

Electoral authorities reported that with approximately 96% of the ballots tallied, Noboa secured 52.2% of the popular vote, while his opponent, Luisa González, a leftist attorney and confidant of exiled former President Rafael Correa, garnered 47.8%. In a concession speech delivered to her supporters on Sunday night, González indicated her intention to call and congratulate Noboa.

At 35 years old, Noboa will assume leadership of Ecuador during an era beset by unparalleled violence, which has raised safety concerns among Ecuadorians, forcing them to remain vigilant and restrict their outdoor activities. This climate of insecurity had its inception roughly three years ago but escalated sharply with the killing of Fernando Villavicencio on August 9, as he departed a campaign event.

Daniel Noboa’s entry into politics was in 2021 when he won a seat in Ecuador’s National Assembly and presided over its Economic Development Commission. Educated in the United States, Noboa founded an event planning business at the age of 18 before joining the family business, Noboa Corp., where he assumed various managerial roles in shipping, logistics, and commerce.

His father, Álvaro Noboa, is Ecuador’s wealthiest individual, with a business empire that began with banana cultivation and exportation—Ecuador’s primary agricultural product—and has since diversified to include more than 128 corporations across multiple countries. Álvaro Noboa was a perennial presidential candidate, having made five unsuccessful bids for the office.

Daniel Noboa’s term will conclude in May 2025, fulfilling the remaining period of his predecessor, Guillermo Lasso. Lasso terminated his term prematurely by dissolving the National Assembly in May amid impeachment procedures initiated against him over alleged contractual irregularities with a state-owned entity. Lasso, a conservative and former banker, had frequent confrontations with lawmakers since his 2021 election and opted not to participate in the special election. On the day of the vote, Lasso urged Ecuadorians to focus on the long-term welfare of their families and country, advocating for the rejection of demagoguery and authoritarianism.

During Lasso’s administration, Ecuador experienced a surge in violent fatalities, with the count reaching 4,600 in 2022, a record high and twice the previous year’s total. The National Police recorded 3,568 incidents of violent death in the first half of 2023 alone. The spike has been attributed to the influence of drug cartels from Mexico, Colombia, and the Balkans, which have established operations in Ecuador in collaboration with local criminal syndicates.

Julio Ricaurte, a 59-year-old engineer, expressed skepticism about the election’s impact, citing both the short timeframe the incoming president has to effect change and the obstructive nature of the National Assembly.

In the initial round of elections on August 22, both Noboa and González advanced to the runoff, outpacing a field of six additional contenders. The candidate replacing the slain Villavicencio finished in third place.

Noboa, who voted in Olón, a coastal town in central Ecuador, was heavily guarded by a combination of military, police, and private security personnel, and wore a bulletproof vest for protection. “The trend is irreversible, and today, we commence the construction of a new Ecuador,” he declared at the polling station.

González, initially a relative unknown, gained prominence when Correa’s party nominated her as its presidential candidate. Having held various governmental roles during Correa’s tenure, she served as a legislator from 2021 until May of this year. Although she initially indicated Correa would serve as her advisor, González later distanced herself somewhat to appeal to voters resistant to the former president, who was convicted of corruption in 2020 and has lived in exile in Belgium since 2017.

On Election Day, Gen. César Zapata, the National Police Commander, reported that two alleged explosive devices found outside of Quito were investigated and found to be false alarms. Furthermore, 174 individuals were arrested for violating an Election Day prohibition on alcohol sales.

Rosa Amaguaña, a 62-year-old vendor of fruits and vegetables, highlighted that the incoming president’s first task must be addressing the country’s pressing safety concerns. “I’m optimistic that change is possible. The next president needs to make at least some small improvements,” Amaguaña noted.

Reporting was contributed by Garcia Cano from Caracas, Venezuela.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ecuador Presidential Election

Who won the Ecuadorian presidential runoff election?

Daniel Noboa, an inexperienced politician and heir to a banana industry fortune, won the presidential runoff election in Ecuador.

What was the margin of victory?

Daniel Noboa won with 52.2% of the votes, while his opponent, Luisa González, garnered 47.8%, according to electoral officials with about 96% of the votes counted.

Was the election peaceful?

The election took place in an atmosphere of unprecedented violence, including the assassination of a candidate, Fernando Villavicencio.

What will be the focus of Daniel Noboa’s presidency?

Daniel Noboa will be focused on leading Ecuador during a period marked by unparalleled violence and public concern for safety.

Who is Luisa González?

Luisa González is a leftist lawyer and ally of exiled former President Rafael Correa. She was the opponent of Daniel Noboa in the presidential runoff.

What are the major challenges facing Ecuador currently?

The major challenges facing Ecuador include an unprecedented level of violence linked to drug cartels and a climate of insecurity that has residents continuously vigilant.

Who is the outgoing President, and why did he cut his term short?

The outgoing President is Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker. He cut his term short by dissolving the National Assembly in May amid impeachment proceedings against him.

How did the public react to the election?

Public reaction is mixed, with some expressing skepticism that the incoming president will be able to effect substantial change given the short duration of his term and the obstructive nature of the National Assembly.

What role did drug cartels play in the recent violence in Ecuador?

The spike in violence is tied to the influence of drug cartels from Mexico, Colombia, and the Balkans, which have established operations in Ecuador in collaboration with local criminal gangs.

What security measures were taken for Daniel Noboa during the voting?

Daniel Noboa was guarded by a large group of military and police officers, as well as private security guards. He also wore a bulletproof vest while voting.

More about Ecuador Presidential Election

  • Ecuador Presidential Election Results
  • Profile of Daniel Noboa
  • Profile of Luisa González
  • History of Violence in Ecuador
  • Guillermo Lasso’s Term and Resignation
  • Role of Drug Cartels in Ecuador
  • Ecuador’s National Assembly and Its Challenges
  • Public Reaction to Ecuador’s Election
  • Security Measures During Ecuador’s Presidential Election
  • Ecuador’s Electoral Commission and Voting Process

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Sandra Davis October 16, 2023 - 7:42 am

I can’t believe how violent it’s gotten there. really makes you think twice bout ever visiting Ecuador.

Ben S. October 16, 2023 - 8:10 am

Skeptical about how much Noboa can do in just a short term, considering how the Assembly is. But well, lets see.

Sarah Mitchell October 16, 2023 - 11:05 am

why so much focus on violence but nothing much on economic policy? that’s critical too ya know.

Mike Jansen October 16, 2023 - 1:45 pm

Wow, didn’t see that coming. Noboa winning is really something. Guess money talks huh?

Victor Rodriguez October 16, 2023 - 1:47 pm

The drug cartels are the real issue here. Until they’re dealt with, doesn’t matter who’s in power.

Karen Lee October 16, 2023 - 5:09 pm

Bulletproof vest to vote? that’s crazy. Safety first i guess, but what a world we live in.

Emily Thompson October 16, 2023 - 5:32 pm

is it just me or does this all feel like a soap opera? Noboa’s dad ran for pres 5 times and now his son wins it… can’t make this stuff up.

George Lin October 17, 2023 - 1:25 am

Luisa González should’ve won, honestly. She has more political experience and Correa’s backing. But hey, it’s politics, anything can happen.


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