Alvaro Noboa is the richest man in Ecuador. He owns the banana company Bonita, which is the fourth biggest in the world after Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole. For the Ecuadorians, he isn’t Alvaro Noboa. He’s ”Alvarito”.
Three times Alvarito has run for president, and lost. Last time, in 2006, he beat Rafael Correa in the first round, but lost in the second. Last week, he opened his campaign telling Correa that he’s going to beat him again.
But Noboa has a long way to go if he wants to catch up with the current president, Correa. In a poll Noboa got 4,81 per cent of the support, landing a third place. Correa seems the self-evident winner with his 47,41 per cent. In his two years as president, Correa has realised his promises, especially to the poor, and his politics have helped up to 70 per cent of the population.
The analyst Ramiro Rivera, interviewed in the newspaper El Comercio, still believes that Noboa has the best chances to increase his support, because the middle class thinks it’s important that the country is open to private investment and that new jobs are created.
Noboa leads the party Prian. He comes from Guayaquil, and it’s there in the province Guayas that most of his supporters are. Even if El Guabo is also located in the middle of banana land, in the province El Oro, Noboa isn’t as popular here. It was to give farmers an alternative to the big companies that Asoguabo was created.
One of my colleagues said: ”He’s already Ecuador’s richest man. He doesn’t need more power”. Another one said: ”He serves his country best as a businessman creating jobs, not as president, even if he treats his employees badly”.
Noboa has been an enemy of trade unions. It was in Noboa’s plantation Los Alamos that workers were beaten and fired when they tried to organise a trade union in 2002.
Around Machala and El Guabo, there are no Noboa plantations. The Bonita bananas grow mostly i Guayas. But Alvarito’s campaign ads are more visible than those of the other candidates, with the exception of Rafael Correa.
Why elections already?
The last presidential elections were in 2006, and Rafael Correa was elected for the period 2007-2011.
But now Ecuador’s parliament has approved a new constitution, and the president has to be elected again.