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20 years ago I assumed the Presidency of the Republic

 

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Quito, February 6, 2017

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Time passes quickly, but this should not be an obstacle for us to remember certain pages of history that cannot be forgotten. On February 6, 1997, after President Bucaram was dismissed by the National Congress, I assumed, in legitimate exercise of my constitutional right, the Presidency of the Republic, I had the honor of being the first woman to reach this position. position, as well as, a few months ago, in August 1996, the taboos that blocked the way for women to the highest positions of popular election had been broken, and she had assumed the functions of Constitutional Vice President of Ecuador. In 1994, I also took pride in occupying the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports for the first time as a woman.

There is an accumulation of mixed feelings when remembering the events that occurred in February 97, feeling closely the protests of a people that had become saturated with a way of governing, but who knew perfectly and discerned the differences between president and vice president, relive somehow the manipulations of an old political class that did not want a woman with no commitments other than with her people, to exercise the presidency of the nation, feel the games of interests and the accommodations that were intended to be made, to circumvent the constitutional charter and break the democratic order.

The boiling of situations of both national and international order demanded immediate actions, the compromises of those who had the factual powers, including the leadership of the armed forces, who, without embarrassment, had agreed with that political class whom they said they detest, the game of economic factors with which I did not have to or wanted to compromise, the permanent harassment of some journalists who did not find disqualifying factors but who played the game of the sectors represented in the National Congress.

All this returns to my mind in this new February, this time in 2017, and of course, also the awareness that the country would have been different if the Constitution and the right that I had to exercise were respected, but that it also represented the validity of values, of the essence of the republic, of the permanence of democracy.

It seems that the country does not change so much, it seems that the game of powers continues, that we do not learn from the mistakes of the past and that accommodation persists, in the evasion of justice, in the non-independence of powers and functions of the State.

In any case, it is good to refresh the memory, keep it vivid in the new generations, so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated, nor are the guilty rewarded.

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Rosalia Arteaga Serrano

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