Roldós Aguilera, Jaime (1940–1981)

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Roldós Aguilera, Jaime (1940–1981)

Jaime Roldós Aguilera (b. 5 November 1940; d. 24 May 1981), president of Ecuador (1979–1981). While a student at the University of Guayaquil, Roldós became a political activist. After completing a law degree, he entered private practice, taught at the University of Guayaquil, and was active in the Concentration of Popular Forces (CFP) led by Asaad Bucaram. Elected deputy from Guayas in 1968 and 1970, he became a member of the Comisión Legislativa Permanente and headed a second commission appointed by the military government in 1978 to prepare for the return to civilian rule. That same year the CFP selected him to run for the presidency after the party's leader, Asaad Bucaram, was disqualified as a candidate by the military.

Roldós represented a new generation of political leaders who were committed to significant social and economic reform. The reformist program was doomed, however, when the CFP split into factions supporting Roldós and his former mentor Asaad Bucaram. Bucaram used his position as president of the Chamber of Representatives to block presidential initiatives to implement structural change, to maintain fiscal restraint, and to adopt a development program that subordinated regional demands to national objectives. Public support for the government eroded as a result of the legislative impasse. Even the renewed threat of a border conflict with Peru in January 1981 failed to provide the administration sustained public support. Growing economic problems resulting from declines in the world-market price for petroleum, budget deficits, and rising international interest rates forced the government to adopt austerity measures that alienated large segments of the public. The administration was facing growing challenges to its authority when Jaime Roldós died in the crash of a military plane while touring the contested border with Peru.

See alsoBucaram Elmhalin, Asaad; Ecuador: Since 1830; Ecuador-Peru Boundary Disputes.


Howard Handelman, "The Dilemma of Ecuadorian Democracy. Part I, Jaime Roldós and the Politics of Deadlock," in UFSI Reports 34 (1984).

David W. Schodt, Ecuador: An Andean Enigma (1987), esp. pp. 129-144.

John D. Martz, Politics and Petroleum in Ecuador (1987), esp. pp. 224-303.

Additional Bibliography

Febres Cordero, Francisco. De Flores a flores y miel. Quito: Ojo de Pez, 1996.

Galarza Zavala, Jaime. Operación Gavilan. Cuenca, Ecuador: Ninacuru, 1995.

                  Linda Alexander RodrÍguez

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Roldós Aguilera, Jaime (1940–1981)

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