Osvaldo Hurtado

Osvaldo Hurtado

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Luis Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea (born June 26, 1939 in Chambo, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador) is an Ecuadorian author and politician who served as President of Ecuador from 1981 to 1984.

During his studies at the Catholic University in the 1960s, Hurtado became a student leader. Afterwards, he lectured political sociology at his alma mater and at the Centro Andino of the University of New Mexico.[1] He became one of the most widely read political scientists of his home country. In 1977, he authored an influential book on Ecuadorian politics titled El Poder Político en el Ecuador (English: "Political Power in Ecuador").[1]

Hurtado drew progressive Catholics and younger professionals away from the Social Christian Party and into the Christian Democrats movement which was inspired by Christian communitarianism and Liberation theology and criticized capitalist exploitation. At the time, it was the most radical among Ecuador's non-Marxist parties and Hurtado was suspected by his right-wing opponents of being a "closet Marxist". In 1978, he merged his Christian Democrats with the progressive wing of the Conservative Party to form the Popular Democracy party.[2]

In 1979, Hurtado was chosen as running mate of presidential candidate Jaime Roldós Aguilera of the populist Concentration of People's Forces. Roldós was successful and Hurtado became vice-president. On May 24, 1981, Jaime Roldós Aguilera died in a plane crash. Hurtado succeeded Roldós Aguilera as President of Ecuador and served out the rest of his term.

He has written many essays and a dozen of books on politics, sociology and economics in Ecuador including Political Power in Ecuador (1977, fourteen editions) which has been translated to English (University of New Mexico Press, 1980 and Westview Press, 1985) and Portuguese (Paz e Terra, 1981); Debt and Development in Contemporary Ecuador (2002), and Portrait of a Nation: Culture and Progress in Ecuador (2009).