Hurtado Larrea, Osvaldo (1939–)

views updated

Hurtado Larrea, Osvaldo (1939–)

Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea was president of Ecuador from 1981 to 1983. He studied at the Catholic University in Quito, where he emerged as a leader of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). He taught political sociology at the university and published widely on the need for structural and social reforms. In 1978 the military government appointed Hurtado chair of the commission charged with revising electoral legislation in preparation for a return to civilian rule.

In the 1978–1979 presidential election, Hurtado ran successfully as the vice presidential candidate on the Concentration of Popular Forces (CFP) ticket with Jaime Roldós Aguilera. They represented a new generation of political leaders, whose desire to expand the electorate, strengthen democratic institutions, and implement planned national development, threatened traditional political and economic elites. When Roldós died in a plane crash on May 24, 1981, Hurtado became president. He inherited a severe budgetary crisis precipitated by the decline of the world price of petroleum and by growing opposition from organized labor—who opposed the government's commitment to fiscal restraint—and from business groups—who opposed the expansion of the state and its growing autonomy in economic policy making. He became the first president in almost thirty years to complete his term and peacefully transfer power to a democratically elected successor.

Hurtado served as president of the 1998 constituent assembly, which drafted Ecuador's new constitution. He ran in the 2002 presidential elections but came in tenth (out of eleven candidates) with barely 1 percent of the vote. Hurtado heads the nonprofit Corporation for Development Studies (CORDES) in Quito.

See alsoEcuador, Political Parties: Concentration of Popular Forces (CFP); Roldós Aguilera, Jaime.


Corkill, David, and David Cubitt. Ecuador: Fragile Democracy. London: Latin American Bureau, 1988.

Hurtado, Osvaldo. Political Power in Ecuador. Translated by Nick D. Mills Jr. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1985.

Schodt, David W. Ecuador: An Andean Enigma. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987.

                          Linda Alexander RodrÍguez

                                        Marc Becker