Jorge Jamil Mahuad Witt
Mahuad was born in Loja, Ecuador. He is of Lebanese and German descent. He initially ran in the presidential election of 1988, coming in a distant fifth place. Ten years later, he won the presidential election by a very close margin. The defeated candidate Álvaro Noboa asked for a vote recount, which was denied by the authority responsible. There was a severe economic crisis in Ecuador (including the 1998–99 Ecuador banking crisis), which had led to a 60% cut in the armed forces budget. Mahuad’s popularity rating had fallen from 60% in October 1998 to 6% in January 2000. In the final days of 1999, he announced the dollarization of the economy of Ecuador, along with a number of International Monetary Fund measures.
Mahuad was forced to resign after a week of demonstrations by indigenous Ecuadorians and a military revolt led by Lucio Gutiérrez. Before his election as president, he served as Mayor of Quito from 1992 to 1998.
He proposed economic reforms that produced the “dollarization” of the economy. He declared a freeze in bank accounts in order to control rampant inflation.
Mahuad attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and received a Master of Public Administration. He lectures in ethics and politics at several universities.
During Mahuad’s presidency, a historic peace agreement with Peru was signed, resolving long-standing border disputes. Under the agreement, Ecuador renounced its claims to sovereignty of the disputed territory under the Rio de Janeiro Protocol, and in return, Peru deeded ownership of one km² of territory to Ecuador.
Mahuad is also a Senior Advisor at CMI International Group in Cambridge, MA.