“Cities are like people’s lives, they are utopias. Can you imagine someone saying one day: I already live well enough? Everyone wants to live better …” Jaime Nebot
Since 2000, when Jaime Nebot was elected mayor of the city of Guayaquil, his life has passed in front of the modern and vibrant main port of Ecuador.
In talking with him we found a boisterous and strong-willed man, but against all a humanist working with his own views on how to manage and politics.
1. Politics to serve. –
“For a long time I saw situations of disloyalty, ingratitude, lack of seriousness around politics. I arrived (to the City Hall) to serve. For me politics is the art of making possible for others to live better. Politics is not the politics that people hate and so do I. I have not entered in that one and I will ever get into it.”
2. Reasons to get involved into politics. –
“I had not linked to positive politics if it had not occurred two circumstances:
In 1984 Leon Febres Cordero was elected president. I was active in his campaign. I did not want any public office (…) He said it did not seem fair to me to leave him after I have accompanied him throughout the campaign (…) on the other hand the province of Guayas had suffered a very strong niño phenomena in 1982 and 1983 and the province was devastated (…) On August 13, 1984 I took office as governor. That is how I entered to politics to serve. “
3. Agenda of the day. –
“I get up at 6 am. At seven I’m in some kind of activity: In radio interviews, basically I communicate a lot with the citizens by radio, I attend meetings at home after that part of the day I work behind my desktop, part of my day I go and monitor public works, I visits the people to see what else they may need to be done, part of my day are for unexpected problems (…) I try to work no more than 12 hours.”
“Economics is a science not as complicated as many people see it and has a legitimate purpose of producing profits for the private sector and produce, in quotes, utility, called best social welfare for the public sector (…)
We give free books, computers, we put English labs, we repair schools, reward young people, we grant scholarships, we give free medicine to poor people … None of that is responsibility of the city hall however, we do it against a budget because the surplus after conservative spending allows us to go beyond that working on sewer, water, great, smaller works (…) There is an goal: to serve. There is a methodology: to do it efficiently and carefully.”
5. Family and work. –
“All my life I have told my family not to get involved on this (…) One politician at home is enough. Politics does not catch the attention of none of my three children.”
6. Each day a brand new city. –
“For us, July and January are the same as December, February and October, but we try to give July a touch of citizenship and a relevance to October for the people to get involved and be proud of the city so that they can learn deeply what is done for them because at the end is done for them or they do it through the city hall through their taxes and their help. We opened a lot of works, there are many contract firms, many invitations to tender for works, many initiations of works (…).”
7. Actions speak louder in Guayaquil.-
“Much progress has been made, there is still some way to go, but we’ve come.
We got a city with half a square meter of green area per inhabitant. Today it has nearly eight square meters per capita.
Cities are like people’s lives, they are utopias. Can you imagine someone saying one day: I already live well enough? Everyone wants to live better because, starting knowledge creates more needs and satisfaction of needs, that were at first priority, begin to generate the desire and satisfaction of other needs (…) You always have to do more things for people to live well and that’s part of doing more for the city every day.”
In 2000 the city of Guayaquil began an intense transformation in metropoli. In 2010, Nebot was sixth in a list made by the London firm City Mayors that included the top 10 mayors (a selection from 820 mayors in the world).
City Mayors emphasized that Nebot has worked in the development of Guayaquil as a tourist center through urban regeneration, he improved the transport system with the implementation of a city tram, he also leads more projects of autonomy and decentralization against the Central Government. (FL)