The man credited with “reshaping” Ecuador’s government, Julio César Trujillo, died Sunday in Quito. “We have lost a true leader, a man who helped give the country’s government back to the people,” President Lenin Moreno said in a statement Sunday night.
Appointed to the lead the Transitional Citizen Participation and Social Control Council (CPCCST) following the February 2018 national referendum, the 88-year-old Trujillo and his fellow council members were responsible for dismissing dozens of government officials, most of them appointed during the administration of former president Rafael Correa. Among those fired by CPCCST were the judges of the Constitutional Court, Ecuador’s highest court.
According to the council, those dismissed were either unqualified for the positions they held or involved in unethical or corrupt activities.
In an article published in February, Forbes magazine said that, “Trujillo is responsible for reshaping the landscape of Ecuadorian politics.”
Trujillo suffered a cerebral hemorrhage last Tuesday and spent his final days in Quito’s Metropolitan hospital, surrounded by family and friends.
Considered a hero by many, Trujillo was reviled by supporters of Correa and his government. “He is the man who single-handedly dismantled the Citizens Revolution built over the past decade,” former foreign minister Riccardo Patino said in October. “He represents the shame of Ecuador.”
While tributes to Trujillo flowed in following his stroke, supporters of the Correa government continued to attack him and the work of CPCCST. Among the attacks were jokes circulated on Twitter and Facebook, according to the government. “There has been trash talk by trashy people,” Ecuador communication secretary Andrés Michelena said Sunday. “These people reveal themselves for who they are and prove why they are out of power and will never return,” he said.
Trained as an attorney, Trujillo had a long career in politics and served as a member of the national assembly, as national ombudsman and as president of the tribunal of constitutional guarantees. Originally a member of the Conservative Party, Trujillo moved to the left as a result of his legal representation of workers and indigenous groups. During Ecuador’s period of dictatorship in the 1970s, he advocated for democracy and was forced to hide out in the Amazon jungle from the ruling junta, which wanted him arrested.
In 2007, Trujillo turned down offers from Correa to join the government, saying he was “too old” to start a new career.