Abdalá Bucaram facts for kids
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عبد الله بوكرم
|38th President of Ecuador|
10 August 1996 – 6 February 1997
|Vice President||Rosalía Arteaga|
|Preceded by||Sixto Durán Ballén|
|Succeeded by||Rosalía Arteaga|
|Mayor of Guayaquil|
10 August 1984 – September 1985
|Preceded by||Bolívar Cali Bajaña|
|Succeeded by||Jorge Norero González|
Abdalá Jaime Bucaram Ortiz
20 February 1952
|Political party||Ecuadorian Roldosist Party (1983–2014)
Fuerza Ecuador (2017–2021)
María Rosa Pulley Vergara
|Alma mater||University of Guayaquil|
Abdalá Jaime Bucaram Ortiz (i/ / ahb-DƏ-lah-_-buu-KƏ-rahm; Arabic: عبد الله بوكرم; born 20 February 1952) is an Ecuadorian politician and lawyer who was President of Ecuador from 10 August 1996, to 6 February 1997. As President, Abdalá Bucaram was nicknamed "El Loco Que Ama" ("The Madman Who Loves", a nickname he himself championed) and was removed from office after being declared mentally unfit to rule by the National Congress of Ecuador on 12 February 1997. Bucaram claims innocence now that all cases against him have been dismissed. He lived in exile in Panama under Political Asylum laws, then returned to Ecuador in 2017 when the charges against him expired.
Family political background
Born in Guayaquil, Bucaram is the son of Jacobo Bucaram Elmhalin (1920-1967), the son of Lebanese immigrants, and Rina Ortiz Caicedo (1926-1982). He grew up playing football in the streets of Guayaquil and later went on to become a successful athlete and earn a degree in physical education. He was also a hurdler. He was the flag bearer for Ecuador at the 1972 Summer Olympics but did not compete in the Games due to injury. He was the police chief of Guayas and the president of Barcelona Sporting Club, a football team from his hometown. While being a gym teacher, he earned a degree in law and soon began his political career. He used to live in Kennedy Norte, a neighborhood next to the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, before he left to Panama after the deposition of his government.
Bucaram was the nephew of the politician Assad Bucaram, who was mayor of Guayaquil. His sister, Martha Bucaram, was married to former President Jaime Roldós Aguilera, both of whom were killed in a mysterious air crash.
Early political years
He was the Mayor of Guayaquil, and the founder and member of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party (PRE). He then competed for the presidency of the Republic in 1988 and 1992 before succeeding in the 1996 run.
1996 presidential campaign
Time as president
Bucaram was president from 10 August 1996, to 6 February 1997. His cabinet was put together by Vice President Rosalia Arteaga. Within months, Bucaram was accused of embezzling millions of dollars of public funds.
After he took office, Bucaram tried to reorganize the state, which included trying to regularize the privatization process initiated by Osvaldo Hurtado (1980, Popular Democracy Party), and supported by the next three presidents: León Febres Cordero (1984, PSC), Rodrigo Borja Cevallos (1988, Democratic Left) and Sixto Durán Ballén (1992, ex-PSC). Political opponents took advantage of Bucaram's perceived trust and loyalty in the selection of his cabinet. Many of Bucaram's ministers and senior officials were influenced by the people who were in control of the state since 1980, and made terrible mistakes.
By 1996 the state had already been dismantled by several years of privatizations; there was no way to control corruption, also, there was no desire of Bucaram's officers to help in this matter. "The Tequila effect" severely affected the Ecuadorean economy; however, no economic measures were taken due to the scandals in which the former President Duran-Ballen's family (Flores y Miel) and his Vice-president Dahik (embezzlement of public funds) were involved. In addition, Duran-Ballén's Cenepa War against Peru exhausted the already disassembled state.
During the Latin American economic crisis, Ecuador was not the exception; the private banks and financial institutions took advantage of the false "bonanza," and the bankers ended up acquiring much state property. Bankers felt the shortage and started to loan money to themselves to maintain their recently acquired properties. The cash flow started to decrease abruptly. The superintendency of banking, controlled by bankers, authorized the issuance of currency without support; this fired up a rapid currency devaluation.
Bucaram had no alternative but to take economic measures which affected people on lower incomes. Bucaram was a populist, so he had no defined political tendency. He decided his economic plan to be very neo-liberal; it was designed by Argentinian economist Domingo Cavallo, and included ending subsidies, regulation of banks and financial institutions, and a strong currency devaluation ("Un sólo toque" would replace the sucre).
Massive protests against the proposed economic plan left Bucaram isolated. The indigenous and social movements who helped raise him to power now were against him. The indigenous Pachakutik Movement, left-wing Democratic People's Movement (MPD), PSC and Popular Democracy were the main parties organizing the protests.
This protest led to his dismissal from the Ecuadorian presidency. He was dismissed by the congress on grounds of alleged mental incapacity. Bucaram's assumed insanity was never officially diagnosed; it was more a political maneuver of the PSC and Popular Democracy who were in control of the legislative and judicial power, also, Pachakutik and MPD supported the decision in exchange for political representation. Congress passed the measure (44 votes in favor and 34 against) with a simple majority instead of the two thirds required by the Constitution, and appointed congressional leader Fabián Alarcón in his place, bypassing the sitting Vice President Rosalía Arteaga.
The constitutional court determined the congressional resolution to be anti-constitutional and rejected it. The congress ignored the constitutional court resolution and proceeded to confirm Fabian Alarcon as interim president. Finally, Congress, illegally, requested that the army assert Alarcón's power.
Life after impeachment
Bucaram received political asylum in Panama after several corruption charges were laid against him. He returned on Saturday, 2 April 2005, after the corruption charges were lifted the previous day. He stayed in Guayaquil for about two and a half weeks. The corruption charges against him were reinstated after Lucio Gutiérrez was forced to leave to avoid the charges.
On 1 December 2014, his son Abdalá "Dalo" Bucarám Jr. renounced his seat in the Ecuadorian National Assembly.
On 4 June 2020, Attorney General Diana Salazar Méndez announced that a hoard of 5,000 masks and 2,000 COVID-19 tests had been found at Bucaram's residence.
On 12 August 2020, Bucaram was arrested at his home in Guayaquil, in relation to the murder of an Israeli citizen, Tomer Sheinman (also known as Shy Dahan), a few days earlier in the Guayaquil jail, as there was an audio of a conversation between Bucaram and the murdered Sheinman (Dahan), who was involved in trading medical supplies with Bucaram's son, Jacobo.
On 9 March 2022, the United States announced that it was designating Bucaram "due to his involvement in significant corruption, including misappropriation of public funds, accepting bribes, and interfering with public processes."
In Spanish: Abdalá Bucaram para niños
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