The Bolivarian leader knocked Ecuador’s door for eight years, trying to strengthen its regional leadership, through a strategic alliance.
With the first Ecuadorian president who came into contact with was Jamil Mahuad, during his inauguration ceremony in Caracas. Chavez was jovial and breaking the protocol he addressed him, reminding Simon Bolivar‘s ode “My Delirium on the Chimborazo.”
Mahuad applauded Chavez’s intervention and said he wanted to strengthen relations with Venezuela, but his words were just for good intentions. Relations remained cordial and friendly, but Chavez says former Chancellor Benjamin Ortiz was more concerned to consolidate his government, than changing the Constitution and implementing its internal process.
The financial crisis of 2000 ended the government of Mahuad and his successor, Vice President Gustavo Noboa gave no further opportunities for relations with Caracas. During the 24 months of his government’s relationship was marked by a formality that bordered on the coldness.
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro visited Ecuador on November 29, 2002, invited by the painter Osvaldo Guayasamin the inauguration of the Chapel of Hombre Doliente. Although there was no room for direct criticism, seven years later, Gustavo Noboa expressed his objections to the Venezuelan socialist model. “I do not want a Venezuela for Ecuador. Respecting Venezuela and its people, as respect it, I do not want our military to become Red Brigades.”
More indifferent was the elected PresidentLucio Gutierrez, who preferred to visitAlvaro Uribe in Colombia than Chavez who was in Quito, which in those days was meeting with his allies of CONAIE andPachakutik.
Patricio Zuquilanda, former foreign minister, said “the great brotherhood uniting Venezuela and Ecuador was severely affected at a time, because we had a huge pressure from President Chavez, who was trying to push president Gutierrez to adopt an anti-American policy and turn toward Cuban world“. “Not only did bilateral relations but within multilateral organizations.”
But the worst attempts of the Bolivarian leader were during the government ofAlfredo Palacio. His Administration secretary Luis Herreria, reported that from the Miraflores Palace he sought to implement “a diabolical project in Ecuador “He tried to replicate his model: seize the power, capturing all the functions of the State and then remain there” said the former official.
Correa ally and friend
Paradoxically in managing the Palace, Chavez had his first contact with the finance minister Rafael Correa. These bonds narrowed in January 2007, when the Venezuelan president along with PresidentEvo Morales, were the guests of honor at a ceremony where Correa take a symboli command of the Zumbahua indigenous population in Cotopaxi.
Afterwards Caracas and Quito strengthening their ties, to the point that in 2009 Ecuador joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), the block created by Venezuela and Cuba.
“In the place where you are, dear Hugo, again, our commitment to not take a step back will endure to fulfill your dreams, which are dreams shared dreams of Venezuela, dignified, happy, sovereign of that equitable Ecuador, fair” was the farewell words of Correa.