Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Ecuador and Guillermo Lasso: An Overview

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This article is adapted from AQ’special report on the Summit of the Americas. Click here for the full list of countries.


President: Guillermo Lasso

Term: 2021-2025

Lasso narrowly won the 2021 election against a protégé of former President Rafael Correa. A conservative former banker, Lasso is seeking to open up Ecuador’s economy and enact judicial reforms while confronting a surge in criminal violence. He has prioritized mass COVID-19 vaccinations, even making the jab mandatory for most citizens. The early popularity Lasso once enjoyed has diminished. He was among a host of world leaders with offshore accounts named in the Pandora Papers, and has stated that he got rid of legitimate investments abroad in order to compete in the 2021 election. Lasso visited China in early 2022, seeking to renegotiate billions of dollars in debt, and is pursuing free trade deals with China as well as the United States. In late 2021, Lasso declared a state of emergency to address a growing security crisis. Gang rivalries contributed to over 300 deaths in Ecuadorian prisons last year, and violence has increased as organized criminal groups vie to control cocaine shipment routes.

To facilitate comparisons among these 10 countries,
the data is color-coded:   
High performing   
Middle performing   
Low performing


President’s approval rating* 31%
Capacity to Combat Corruption Index ranking (out of 15 Latin American countries) 9
Share of adults who support democracy* 63%
Military expenditure as % GDP 2.5%


Projected GDP growth 2022 3%
Projected inflation 2022 1.7%
Total trade as % of GDP 43%
Unemployment 6.1%
Share of labor force in informal economy 75.3%
Share of population living in extreme poverty 10.8%


Population (millions) 17.9
Homicide rate (per 100,000 people) 14
Annual carbon dioxide emissions (millions of tons) 30.9
Share of public social spending on education 35.7%
Global press freedom ranking (out of 180 countries) 96

Argentina | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Guatemala | Mexico | Peru | Venezuela

*NOTES: Approval rating updated June 3. Support for democracy reflects percentage who agree that democracy is preferable to any other form of government.

Sources: Approval rating: Perfiles de Opinión (April); support for democracy: Latin American Public Opinion Project (2021); Capacity to Combat Corruption Index (2022); military expenditure: Stockholm International Peace Institute (2021); GDP, inflation, unemployment: Bloomberg (March); total trade: World Bank (2020); informal labor force: Inter-American Development Bank (2020); poverty, population, education spending: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (2020); Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index (2021); homicide rate: InSight Crime (2021); CO2 emissions: Global Carbon Project (2020)


Reading Time: < 1 minuteSweigart is an editor at Americas Quarterly and a policy manager at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Follow Emilie Sweigart:   LinkedIn   |    X/Twitter

Tags: Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso
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