In 2022 it took great characters of Ecuadorian history. Journalists, politicians, analysts, diplomats, businessmen and athletes. Everybody unreachable fighters who left their mark in each of the areas in which they worked.
Some left suddenly, others fought to the last breath, but all left teachings that will transcend time.
Below is a count of the characters who passed away this year.
Alfredo Pinoargote Cevallos had as his goal in his journalistic and diplomatic career the fight for democratic values, the defense of freedoms and institutionality. From the end of the last Velasquismo and the military dictatorship in the 1970s until his death, Pinoargote had a significant weight in national political journalism. His book “La república de papel” became a painful portrait of how laws abound in Ecuador, which only remain on paper. He was an editor and political analyst at Vistazo. At Ecuavisa he directed the programs “Behind the News” and “Contacto Directo”. He passed away at the age of 76.
THE RACE JOURNALIST
Tania Tinoco joined Ecuavisa at the age of 19 to work in the News archive. Since 1986 and for seven years, she shared the presentation of the Telemundo newscast with Alberto Borges. Upon Borges’s departure, Tania successfully took charge of that newscast. “A journalist by race, she was never close to power. Normally she did not express her opinions in public, but her reports frequently caused the displeasure of the powerful, ”wrote Carlos Jijón in Vistazo. She was a columnist for Hogar magazine and wrote two books, one on spirituality and the other on the life of an African politician.
THE IRREVERENT VOICE
Francisco Huerta Montalvo shone from adolescence as a student leader. In his maturity he put the dots on the i’s in the great national problems. In 2009, for example, he warned that Ecuador was turning into a narco-state. He was a doctor, politician and journalist. In 1970 he became the youngest mayor Guayaquil has ever had. Son of the historian Francisco Huerta Rendón and nephew of the liberal Raúl Clemente Huerta, he was until the end of his days an activist for citizen rights. He was Minister of Health under Osvaldo Hurtado and Government under Gustavo Noboa. He passed away at the age of 82.
LONG LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE
Wilfrido Lucero Bolaños was one of the politicians who has spent the longest time in legislative tasks. He held a seat for 22 non-consecutive years. During that period he was president of the National Congress three times, twice as a popular democratic representative and the third for the Democratic Left. He was mayor of his native Tulcán and also prefect of Carchi. He passed away at the age of 87.
SMART WITH FINANCES
Economic and academic analyst. Francisco Swett Morales, from Guayaquil, died at the age of 74. Behind his opinions was his experience in the public sector. He was Finance Minister of León Febres-Cordero and later chaired the Monetary Board. In recent years he dedicated himself to his weekly column in the Expreso newspaper and to teaching: he was Dean of Economics at the Espíritu Santo University.
Luis Valencia Rodríguez, a career diplomat, was twice Chancellor of the Republic, the first time in the Military Junta in 1965 and the second time under the presidency of Osvaldo Hurtado. This man from Quito, he represented the country as ambassador to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and the United Nations. Among his works stands out “Analysis of the Ecuadorian legal position in the 200 miles”. He passed away at the age of 96.
Cuenca anthropologist Claudio Malo González, who died at the age of 86, was Osvaldo Hurtado’s Minister of Education and Culture, deputy for Azuay and councilor of Cuenca. He directed the Inter-American Center for Crafts and Popular Arts and promoted Ecuadorian craft design. He came to teach at The University of North Carolina. He was a columnist for the newspapers El Comercio and Hoy.
A FACE ALWAYS REMEMBERED
Mónica Fernández-Salvador was a news anchor for Televistazo in the 1970s and 1980s, sharing the set with Alfonso Espinosa de los Monteros. In addition, she was the host of the program “Hoy Domingo” and an actress in soap operas. In 1987 she moved away from television to take charge of promoting a commercial brand owned by her paternal family. She passed away at the age of 73.
Isabel Robalino Bolle, was born in Barcelona in 1917 and died in Quito at the age of 104. In 1944 she was the first lawyer in the country and two years later, the first councilor of Quito. She was a constituent assembly member in 1966 and then a senator in 1968. Her commitment to defending workers’ rights was present in her speech. She was a Number Member of the National Academy of History. She never fainted in her convictions: at the age of 98 she joined the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which led to criminal trials and threats from correísmo.
Carlos González-Artigas Loor was called to lead the largest economic group in Manabí. He was the only son of the founder Carlos González-Artigas Díaz, who passed away in April 2020. He was 49 years old and had a long business career at La Fabril, where he held various management positions. As manager, he completed the purchase of the La Favorita oil industry, one of the largest and oldest companies in Guayaquil.
BANKER WITH VISION
José Salazar Barragán, who passed away at the age of 100, was the private secretary of President Carlos Julio Arosemena Tola. He also presided over the Banco de Fomento, the National Financial Corporation and the Monetary Board. He was a lawyer, but business management absorbed and catapulted him. After managing some companies, in 1980 he founded the Bolivarian Bank, the fourth largest in the country and where he was until the last day.
Galo Martínez Merchán knew how to combine his two passions at different times: politics and journalism. At the age of 29, in the fourth Velasquismo, he was Secretary General of the Administration and a decade later, he accompanied Velasco in various ministries until his overthrow. Since then he has devoted himself fully to journalism. In 1973 he brought together 30 financiers and founded the Expreso newspaper and a year later the Extra newspaper. He was also at the beginning of the newspaper La Hora and Vanguardia magazine. In 2016, the Ecuadorian Association of Newspaper Editors of Ecuador awarded him the Aedep prize for Liberties. He was 91 years old.
“My life has been teamwork,” said Werner Moeller Freile in 2015, when he was named entrepreneur of the year by the Guayaquil Chamber of Industries. In the business field, he was one of the pioneers of aquaculture and promoter of paper and cardboard and balanced food producers. He presided over the Guayaquil Chamber of Industries. Socially, he was linked to the Guayaquil Charity Board, where he was its director. He passed away at the age of 89.
RIGOROUS WITH HISTORY
History and Psychology marked the life of Vladimir Serrano. Mundo Diners magazine recalled that “he narrated what he understood as ‘the soul of Quito’, an intangible that can be appreciated in cities that have a past, traditions, ancient buildings, typical foods, values and customs.” He was a Number Member of the National Academy of History of Ecuador. Among his books, “200 years of characters from Quito” stands out. He was 70 years old.
THE GUARDIAN OF THE MARIMBA
Guillermo Ayoví, better known as Papá Roncón, passed away at the age of 92. The musician was recognized as one of the guardians of the marimba and Afro-Esmeraldeña music. In his Bourbon hometown, in Esmeraldas, he built his instruments. His influence began in the 1970s when he toured with the group La Catanga, and reached its peak in 2015, when the marimba was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
GOALS THAT ARE LEGEND
Simón Cañarte was the first scorer in the Ecuadorian soccer championship. In 1957 only Barcelona, Emelec, Deportivo Quito and Aucas played. Cañarte was one of the strikers most remembered by Barcelona fans, despite the fact that he retired at the age of 25 because, he later recounted, “at that time you couldn’t make a living from football.” He went to work in a banana plantation, an activity for which he also became passionate. He passed away at the age of 88.
THE CAPTAIN OF BARCELONA
Luciano Macías, glory of Barcelona Sporting Club, passed away at the age of 87. “El Pollo” was immovable in defense for two decades and the team captain for 10 years. He is credited with having been one of the architects for the idolatry that reached the Guayaquil team. He was in the “feat of La Plata” in which Barcelona took the undefeated from the then unbeatable Estudiantes, triple champion of the Copa Libertadores.