Appointment of new finance minister signals turn to the right for economic policy

May 15, 2018

President Lenin Moreno has appointed Richard Martínez as Ecuador’s new finance minister, replacing Maria Elsa Viteri. The move was not unexpected as Viteri has faced increasing criticism in recent weeks for maintaining the economic policies of former president Rafael Correa.

Richard Martínez, Ecuador’s new finance minister

Martínez’s appointment comes just days before the administration submits its new economic plan to the National Assembly.

Martínez, who was chairman of the Ecuadorian Business Committee (CCE), is known for his close ties to a number of private business organizations. In recent statements to the press, he has advocated for an “open business environment” to attract foreign investment and has criticized the leftist economic policies of the Correa government.

During her two-month tenure as economic minister, Viteri has angered some members of the Moreno administration by continuing to use a debt-to-GDP ratio developed during the Correa years. Ecuador’s comptroller pegs the national debt at above 50 percent of GDP, a figure that Moreno agrees with, while Viteri insists that it is under the 40 percent level allowed by law.

Martínez is a former economics professor at the Catholic University in Quito, with an Executive MBA from the IDE Business School, a Postgraduate Diploma in International Economics from the University of Barcelona in Spain and a Diploma in Negotiations and International Trade from the Miguel de Cervantes University in Chile.

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