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read - An Interview with President Alfredo Palacio » Born in Guayaquil on January 22, 1939, Dr. Luis Alfredo Palacio was the President of Ecuador from the 20th of April 2005 to the 15th of January 2007. He is the son of a well-known Ecuadorian sculpture artist Alfredo Palacio, whose most famous work is on the Monument for the Liberal Revolution in his hometown of Guayaquil.
Physician by profession, Dr. Alfredo Palacio graduated in 1967 from the University of Guayaquil and later specialized in cardiology. He continued his studies in Cleveland, Ohio at Case Western University followed by a two-year cardiology program at Barnes Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri, United States. He has published his work in areas such as science, culture and politics. At the same time, Dr. Palacio has received many acknowledgments among others from the Ecuadorian House of Culture, American Medical Association, Municipal Districts of Guayaquil and Quito and from other cities from the Republic.
He served as Vice-President from January 2003 until April 2005; at this time the Ecuadorian congress removed active President Lucio Gutierrez from office due to internal conflicts within his government, giving Dr. Palacio the position of President of Ecuador in 2005. Since then, he has pushed for political, social, economic transformation of Ecuador. As can be seen on the Ecuadorian News paper El Universo, Dr. Palacios says “I have a vision where social, cultural and economic rights are respected” and he went on saying that “I cannot accept that in Ecuador 33 of a thousand infants die before reaching one year of age” He also plans to incorporate 800,000 people with low income into a public health program, fight against illiteracy and foster production. To achieve higher levels of production, he declared that no new taxes against companies would be levied.
As President of the Republic, he created the Secretary for the Development of the Millennium Objectives and three Sub-Secretaries: Health, Education and Production to be incorporated within the Secretary of Economy to fulfill the objectives in the United Nations Millennium Declaration. Dr. Palacio mentions that his most important objective of the millennium was providing Universal Health Care Insurance to 100% of the population by 2015. At the same time, the President wished to increase the budget for education, welfare and work programs. Other Millennium objectives that Dr. Palacio would address were technology and science development.
On March 2006, President Luis Alfredo Palacio signed the decree for the creation of the Commission of the External Debt Investigation, noting particularly that the external debt is a vicious circle that prevents the development and affects the citizens of Ecuador. The main goals of this Commission were investigation of the legitimacy of the external public debt, to analyze the social-economic impacts the emission of public debt bonds has, to propose renegotiation mechanisms of the external public debt in relation to capital and interest and to keep the president of the Republic informed of all new advances.
President Alfredo Palace is a strong believer in social politics, as can be seen when he recovered resources from the exploitation of the petroleum sector and reoriented the economic policies of the country to support education and healthcare.
Dr. Palacio has 39 years of experience, during which time he has taken leadership positions in the public health and academic sectors. In 1994, Dr. Luis Alfredo Palacio served as regional Director of the Ecuadorian Institute for Social Services (IESS) and as Minister of Health from 1994-1996. During these years, he originated polices to prevent the spreading of diseases and infections, modernized the health care sector and encouraged a safe water system.
During the years 1988 – 1992 he served as Vice President of a Non Profit Organization called National Council for Science and Technology, which promotes research for academic as well as non-academic activities. Between the years 1984 –2003 he was director of the National Institute of Cardiology ‘Alfredo Palacio.’ In addition to all his executive postings, he has had an extended academic career as a professor of cardiology, internal medicine and public health for the University of Guayaquil.
Dr. Luis Alfredo Palacio married Maria Beatriz Paret and has four sons Ana, Linka, Alfredo and Carola who are all very committed to supporting his mission of being an active leader of social healthcare.