Ecuador should become a republic, giving local governments more autonomy, Jaime Nebot says

Jul 7, 2022 | 22 comments

Former Guayaquil mayor Jaime Nebot is proposing that Ecuador adopt a republican form of government, allowing provinces and municipalities greater autonomy and authority. He said the recently ended indigenous strike proves that “top-down” government is not working.

Former Guayaquil mayor Jaime Nebot

“It is undoubtedly time for Ecuadorians to consider the model of a united federal republic,” he said Wednesday in social media posts. “If you look at the serious political, economic and social problems the country has recently faced — and continues to face — it is clear that our current model of governance is not working.”

Nebot said republican governments, including that of the United States, are more effective in dealing with crises. “Local states, such as provinces, are better at responding to problems arising in their areas because the problems are local.” He added: “Please understand that I am not suggesting that the country be broken up, only that authority be enhanced and dispersed to local governments. As a nation, Ecuador would remain a united and sovereign nation.”

Citing the recent strike, said it was unfair that Guayaquil and coastal communities not affected by the indigenous protests suffered the same restrictions and deprivations as areas of the sierra and Amazon where the protests occurred. “Wouldn’t it be better to allow Quito and Cuenca to react independently to events in their cities? Shouldn’t they have the law enforcement resources to protect their people and their property?”

By the same token, he said cities like Guayaquil should have the authority to make arrangements to receive food and other supplies cut off by roadblocks in the Andes. Early last week, current Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri said her city should be able to make emergency arrangements to import products from Peru, a suggestion shot down by President Guillermo Lasso.

On the issue of crime in Guayaquil, Nebot said the city needed more autonomy to manage law enforcement. “This is a problem that affects Guayaquil much more than it affects Cuenca, Loja and Ibarra, so why shouldn’t the anti-crime effort be directed in the location where the crime exists?”

Nebot said a change to a republican form of government would require constitutional reform. “Yes, it would require a constitutional convention and a public plebiscite to accept the change, but I believe the people will support it.”

He added: “This model of government will give citizens a greater sense of self-esteem and allow local governments to work more effectively on problems of employment, income inequity, crime and social injustice more effectively.”

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