Jaime Nebot

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Jaime José Nebot Saadi
Presi3 (cropped).jpg
Mayor of Guayaquil
In office
August 10, 2000 – May 14, 2019
Preceded byLeón Febres-Cordero Rivadeneira
Succeeded byCynthia Viteri
Governor of Guayas province
In office
August 1984 – August 1988
Preceded byGustavo Noboa
Member of Congress (Guayas Province)
In office
August 1, 1998 – August 10, 2000
In office
August 8, 1990 – August 9, 1992
Personal details
Born (1946-10-22) October 22, 1946 (age 72)
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Political partyMadera de Guerrero
Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristiano)

Jaime José Nebot Saadi (born October 22, 1946) is an Ecuadorian lawyer and politician. He formally served as mayor of Guayaquil, which is Ecuador's largest city. He is affiliated with the Social Christian Party (PSC) and the Madera de Guerrero Civic Movement. Nebot ran twice for president of Ecuador, in 1992 losing against Sixto Duran-Ballén, and in 1996 losing against Abdalá Bucaram.


Nebot was born to a prominent Guayaquil family. His father, Jaime Nebot Velasco, of Catalan backgrounds, was a government minister during the administration of President José María Velasco Ibarra (1968–1972).[1] His mother is Sulema Saadi, the daughter of a Lebanese immigrant who came to Ecuador after living in Brazil.[2] Nebot was educated in various Catholic schools, including Colegio Cristóbal Colón in Guayaquil and Colegio San Gabriel in Quito. He has a law degree from Católica Santiago de Guayaquil.[3] He entered politics in 1984, when he was appointed governor of Guayas province (the district encompassing Guayaquil) by then-president León Febres-Cordero.[4] During his tenure as governor he sent police on a three-day operation to evict more than 700 families who were squatting on private land in Guayaquil.[5] During the incident in Taura when President Febres-Cordero was kidnapped by some military officials led by Vargas Passo, Nebot played an important role in the negotiations for his freedom.

He was governor until 1988, when Febres-Cordero's administration ended.

Incident in congress[edit]

In 1990 Nebot ran for congress on the PSC slate and won a seat representing Guayas province. On August 31 of that year, while a parliamentary session was being broadcast on TV, Nebot, visibly agitated, began shrieking hysterically at a fellow congressman, Víctor Granda of the Socialist Party. "Come here so I can urinate on you, you insect son of a bitch" Nebot shouted at Granda. "I can't just hit you. I have to urinate on you."[6][7] Police had to stop Nebot from physically assaulting his opponent. The disagreement stemmed from Granda's alleged backroom dealings with members of other parties.

Presidential runs[edit]

In 1992 Nebot ran for president for the first time. Almost all of Nebot's support came from the coastal provinces, Guayas included.[8] He placed second in the first round of elections held in May, getting 26 percent of the vote.[9] He lost the July runoff against Sixto Durán Ballén (one of the co-founders of the PSC back in 1951). Durán Ballén beat Nebot by a 13 point margin.[10]

He ran for president a second time in 1996. Nebot ran on a privatization of public services platform. Opponents claimed that his business-friendly approach would enrich his friends in the Guayaquil business community.[11] Nebot, supported by large agricultural businesses from the coast, spoke at home of more social services. Abroad, he spoke to investors of public payroll cuts.[12] His campaign slogan was "People First."[13]

After placing first in the first round held in May, Nebot ran against populist Abdalá Bucaram in the July runoff. Bucaram succeeded in portraying Nebot as a member of the ruling class, thereby denying him support from the working class. Bucaram's negative campaign struck a chord among many poor voters. For example, when a line in Bucaram's TV ads mentioned the "evil oligarchy," the ads also showed a photo of Nebot with the caption "well pampered rich kid."[14] Nebot "evoked strong feelings of rejection in many who preferred any other candidate."[14] Nebot, for his part, ran as calm figure, elegantly dressed and always smiling.[12] Nebot was also harmed by an untimely remark from his party boss and political mentor, León Febres-Cordero, who said on TV that Bucaram "was the candidate of pimps, prostitutes, and marijuana users."[15] This further alienated Nebot from some voters.

Bucaram won 54 percent of the vote, Nebot 45 percent.[16] After losing the election, Nebot became active in the opposition against Bucaram. In January 1997, Nebot called for the removal of Bucaram from office, arguing that Bucaram was insane.[17] The following month, after a two-day general strike led by the opposition, congress threw Bucaram out of office.[18] Bucaram fled Ecuador and found asylum in Panama.[18] After Bucaram's overthrow, Nebot, at the head of Social Christian Party slate, won a seat in an assembly that redrafted Ecuador's constitution.[19] In the 1998 election, Nebot rejected the Social Christian Party's nomination for the presidency and ran for congress instead.[20] He won a congressional seat and held it until 2000, when he ran for mayor of Guayaquil.[3]

Tenure as mayor[edit]

In 2000 Nebot was elected mayor of Guayaquil. He has been reelected in 2004, 2009 and 2014 for another four-year term.[3] He made public works the focus of his administration. He started an urban-renewal program to gentrify blighted areas of Guayaquil's center.[21] In 2006, Nebot inaugurated Metrovía, a mass-transit system based on dedicated lanes for public buses. Metrovía was an effort to decongest Guayaquil's notoriously bad traffic.[22]

Nebot tried to tackle crime, one of Guayaquil's persistent ills. In 2002, Nebot hired former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton to help draft an anti-crime strategy.[23] Bratton was instrumental in former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's effort to reduce crime in the 1990s. Guayaquil's new anti-crime strategy included tough penalties for individuals caught begging or selling on the streets of the gentrified areas. They can be imprisoned for up to seven days, or be subject to fines of up to $500.[23]

Nebot built a shopping promenade along the west bank of the Guayas River, in the center of Guayaquil. Dubbed Malecón 2000, the promenade "is monitored by heavily armed police who individually assess who can enter the gated grounds and who cannot. Within the regenerated area, there are now at least 52 police-operated video cameras running 24 hours a day. This municipal gaze is not only concerned with crime control; rather, a key function of the cameras is to monitor the regenerated areas for the occupation of public space—particularly by informal workers."[23]

Violence has played a role in the gentrification plan. In 2003, the media reported 10 cases of excessive police force, including the case of a 53-year-old man who was shot and injured during the eviction of a group of street vendors.[23]


  1. ^ Martz, John D. (1987). Politics and Petroleum in Ecuador. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-87855-450-5. p. 87.
  2. ^ Almeida, Mónica (July 1996). "Phoenicians of the Pacific: Lebanese and Other Middle Easterners in Ecuador". The Americas. The Americas, Vol. 53, No. 1. 53 (1): 87–111. doi:10.2307/1007475. JSTOR 1007475.
  3. ^ a b c "Jaime Nebot: Trayectoria". M.I. Municipalidad de Guayaquil. Retrieved 2008-01-27.[dead link]
  4. ^ Gerlach, Allen (2003). Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of Ecuador. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8420-5108-2. p. 82
  5. ^ Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (January 1987). "Atropello a Pobladores" (PDF). Derechos del Pueblo. 37: 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 5, 2004.
  6. ^ Espinosa, Javier (June 12, 1996). "Ven pa'mearte, insecto hijueputa". El Mundo. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  7. ^ "Jaime Nebot en el congreso". YouTube video. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  8. ^ "Ecuador; Joining the crowd". The Economist. May 23, 1992. p. 44.
  9. ^ Fidler, Stephen (May 18, 1992). "Ecuador's centre-right ahead in poll". Financial Times. p. 5.
  10. ^ Brooke, James (July 6, 1992). "U.S.-Trained Conservative Is Elected Ecuador President". New York Times. pp. A4.
  11. ^ Fidler, Stephen (July 27, 1995). "Survey of Ecuador". Financial Times. p. 27.
  12. ^ a b Colitt, Raymond; Sarita Kendall (May 17, 1995). "Ecuadorean poll leader polishes style". Financial Times. p. 6.
  13. ^ Escobar, Gabriel (March 31, 1996). "Free Market Is No Sacred Cow in Ecuadorean Election". Washington Post. pp. A23.
  14. ^ a b De la Torre, Carlos (June 1999). "Neopopulism in Contemporary Ecuador: The Case of Bucaram's Use of the Mass Media". International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. 12 (4): 555–571. doi:10.1023/A:1025986009032.
  15. ^ Adams, David (July 6, 1996). "Ecuador's El Loco in poll battle with Antichrist". The Times.
  16. ^ Escobar, Gabriel (July 7, 1996). "Ecuadoran Populist Wins Presidential Vote". Washington Post. pp. A8.
  17. ^ "Ecuador". Miami Herald. January 30, 1997. pp. A21.
  18. ^ a b Escobar, Gabriel (February 8, 1997). "Ecuadoran Leader Fights to Retain Power". Washington Post. pp. A1.
  19. ^ Newsome, Justine (December 2, 1997). "Ecuador votes for reform". Financial Times. p. 7.
  20. ^ Newsome, Justine (February 26, 1998). "Technocrat to stand for Ecuador presidency". Financial Times. p. 6.
  21. ^ Pfanner, Eric. "Guayaquil: A new page in the evolution of a city". New York Times Special Advertising Section. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  22. ^ Pfanner, Eric. "Guayaquil: Metrovia clears the air". New York Times Special Advertising Section. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  23. ^ a b c d Swanson, Kate (September 2007). "Revanchist Urbanism Heads South: The Regulation of Indigenous Beggars and Street Vendors in Ecuador". Antipode. 39 (4): 708–728. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2007.00548.x.

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