Guillermo Alberto Santiago Lasso Mendoza (born 16 November 1955) is an Ecuadorian businessman and politician.
|Superminister of Economy|
17 August 1999 – 24 September 1999
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Governor of Guayas|
10 August 1998 – 17 August 1999
|Preceded by||Rafael Guerrero Valenzuela|
|Succeeded by||Benjamín Rosales Valenzuela|
Guillermo Alberto Santiago Lasso Mendoza
16 November 1955
|Political party||Creating Opportunities|
|Spouse(s)||María de Lourdes Alcívar Crespo|
During the 1990s, Lasso was named the head of operations in Ecuador for Coca-Cola, following the local bankruptcy of the company in that region. In this role, Lasso was tasked with restructuring the company and bringing it back to financial health. He has since sat on the boards of directors for both Coca-Cola, and Mavesa, and also served as Chairman of the board of directors of the Guayas Transit Commission as well as being a member of the Board of Directors of the Andean Development Corporation.
In 1994 Lasso became the CEO of Banco Guayaquil. As a part of his tenure, he founded the Bancos del Barrio program, a community banking initiative that brought in local shopkeepers as economic partners with the bank in planning and strategy. The program was cited by the Inter-American Development Bank as an advancement in grassroots banking penetration strategy. He resigned from his post as Executive President in 2012. Lasso is also the founder of the Fundacion del Barrio.
In 2011 Lasso published the book Cartas a Mis Hijos, which translates to Letters to my Children, which contains lessons he developed from his time working in business and highlights recommendations for the economic development of Ecuador. Among his ideas, Lasso discusses the need for greater sovereignty over parts of the national economy. The book advocates for the Ecuadorian government to develop policies that create more economic opportunities for its citizens. Soon after its release, former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar, who stated the book held key insights into what is needed for development. During the book launch event, former Ecuadorian President Gustavo Noboa was present to show support for the project, along with other federal politicians. Following its publications, Lasso performed policy speeches, and used the plans in the book as a basis for a presidential political campaign. In 2012 he then published the book Otro Ecuador Es Posible.
In 1998, Lasso was appointed the Governor of Guayas, during which the national government underwent a mass privatization of public companies and industries. Ecuador went through an economic collapse in 1999, following which, Lasso was temporarily appointed to the newly created position of “Super Minister” of Economy, replacing the resigning Ana Lucia Armijos. As finance minister, he served under President Jamil Mahuad and took over negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in earning economic support. He was also tasked with coordinating government policy in response to the country's economic crisis.
In the 2013 Ecuadorian general election he was presidential candidate for the party Creating Opportunities, which he founded. He landed in second place with 22.68% of valid votes but as incumbent President Rafael Correa received more than double that amount, namely 57.17%. Lasso is, through a trust named with his initials, GLM, the largest share holder in Banco de Guayaquil, where he has been executive president for more than 20 years.
In early 2017, Lasso launched his second presidential campaign to succeed incumbent President Correa for the conservative Creating Opportunities party in the 2017 presidential elections, as Correa had already served his two-term constitutionally defined limit. His campaign's theme was one of "change" and he pledged to create one million more jobs in Ecuador. Lasso received 48.84% and lost to Lenín Moreno. Following the result, Lasso accused his opponents of electoral fraud and called the incoming administration “illegitimate”. In February 2017, Lasso said in an interview with a British newspaper that in case of his victory in the presidential election he would “cordially ask” Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London within 30 days.
In the words of Guillermo Lasso himself, "life has made him liberal". However, when asked if he identified with that term, he replied that he does not place himself in any ideology, but believes in "good ideas". In the same way, he responded when asked if he is from the right or the left. His public agenda includes classic liberal points such as the defence of the division of powers to limit government and of fundamental rights such as freedom of the press. He has also expressed himself in favour of reducing taxes and state debt with the announced aim of increasing productivity and employment in the private sector.
On the tax on capital outflows, he thinks that it is in fact a tax on capital income, and he has committed himself to eliminating at least nine taxes if he is elected President of Ecuador. Guillermo Lasso has declared himself an admirer of José María Aznar's Silent Revolution, a series of reforms implemented by the former president of the Government of Spain. On foreign trade, he has said that he favours a greater opening of trade with Ecuador's major partners, the United States and the European Union, so that national producers have greater export opportunities. One of the economic items on his agenda has been what he calls "depetrolizing the economy" of Ecuador through the diversification of national production by deregulating entrepreneurship.
Guillermo Lasso was a supernumerary of Opus Dei. On abortion he has said in general terms that he "believes in life from conception and that is a principle I will not change". On bullfighting and cockfighting he has said that although he does not share these hobbies he does not seek to impose his tastes on others. On other issues such as marriage between people of the same sex, he has said that he is in favour of allowing civil union, but differentiating it from conventional marriage; on immigration he has proposed controls for those with criminal records, but to facilitate the entry of foreigners for tourism, investment, or humanitarian reasons; and on the decriminalisation of drugs he maintains that a national debate is necessary to propose alternatives in the face of the failure of the war on drugs; on issues of environmental conservation he states that he will keep the Yasuní Amazon reserve free of oil exploitation.
He also declares himself an enemy of the 21st century socialism promoted from Venezuela and Cuba, whose Ecuadorian chapter identifies with the Citizens' Revolution led by Rafael Correa. Lasso has called the supranational organisation ALBA a "third world empire". In response to his criticism of the Ecuadorian government's anti-capitalist discourse and measures, President Correa and other officials and members of Alianza PAIS have questioned Guillermo Lasso by portraying him as a representative of the political forces that governed Ecuador before his party came to power in 2007, and pointing out that Lasso's tax proposals are irresponsible with the state budget. Also, President Rafael Correa claims to have had a hand in Ecuador's financial crisis of 1999.
Lasso graduated from the College of San José La Salle. According to information from the Inspectorate of Banks of Panamá, Guillermo Lasso was associated with forty-nine offshore companies located in tax havens between 1999 and 2000. He made $30 million on bond speculation during this period.
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