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After Ecuador's separation, the Department of Cauca voluntarily decided to unite itself with Ecuador due to instability in the central government of Bogota. Moreover, the Cauca region throughout its long history had very strong economic and cultural ties with the people of Ecuador.

In five months, New Granada defeated Ecuador due to the fact that the majority of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces were composed of rebellious angry unpaid veterans from Venezuela and Colombia that did not want to fight against their fellow countrymen. Seeing that his officers were rebelling, mutinying, and changing sides, President Flores had no option but to reluctantly make peace with New Granada. When Ecuador seceded from the Gran Colombia, Peru decided not to follow the treaty of Guayaquil of or the protocoled agreements made. Peru contested Ecuador's claims with the newly discovered Real Cedula of , by which Peru claims the King of Spain had transferred these lands from the Viceroyalty of New Granada to the Viceroyalty of Peru.

During colonial times this was to halt the ever-expanding Portuguese settlements into Spanish domains, which were left vacant and in disorder after the expulsion of Jesuit missionaries from their bases along the Amazon Basin.

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Ecuador countered by labeling the Cedula of an ecclesiastical instrument, which had nothing to do with political borders. Peru began its de facto occupation of disputed Amazonian territories, after it signed a secret peace treaty in favor of Brazil. This treaty disregarded Spanish rights that were confirmed during colonial times by a Spanish-Portuguese treaty over the Amazon regarding territories held by illegal Portuguese settlers.

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Peru began occupying the defenseless missionary villages in the Mainas or Maynas region which it began calling Loreto with its capital in Iquitos. During its negotiations with Brazil, Peru stated that based on the royal cedula of , it claimed Amazonian Basin territories up to Caqueta River in the north and toward the Andes Mountain range, depriving Ecuador and Colombia of all their claims to the Amazon Basin. Colombia protested stating that its claims extended south toward the Napo and Amazon Rivers. Peru ignored these protests and created the Department of Loreto in with its capital in Iquitos which it had recently invaded and systematically began to occupy using the river systems in all the territories claimed by both Colombia and Ecuador.

Peru briefly occupied Guayaquil again in , since Peru thought that Ecuador was selling some of the disputed land for development to British bond holders, but returned Guayaquil after a few months.

The border dispute was then submitted to Spain for arbitration from to , but to no avail. In the early part of the 20th century Ecuador made an effort to peacefully define its eastern Amazonian borders with its neighbours through negotiation.

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Ecuador protested this secret treaty, since Colombia gave away Ecuadorian claimed land to Peru that Ecuador had given to Colombia in In July 21, the Ponce-Castro Oyanguren Protocol was signed between Ecuador and Peru where both agreed to hold direct negotiations and to resolve the dispute in an equitable manner and to submit the differing points of the dispute to the United States for arbitration.

Negotiations between the Ecuadorian and Peruvian representatives began in Washington on September 30, These negotiations were long and tiresome. Both sides logically presented their cases, but no one seemed to give up their claims. Then on February 6, , Ecuador presented a transactional line which Peru rejected the next day. The negotiations turned into intense arguments during the next 7 months and finally on September 29, the Peruvian representatives decided to break off the negotiations without submitting the dispute to arbitration because the direct negotiations were going nowhere.

Four years later in , amid fast-growing tensions within disputed territories around the Zarumilla River, war broke out with Peru. In July , troops were mobilized in both countries. Peru had an army of 11, troops who faced a poorly supplied and inadequately armed Ecuadorian force of 2,, of which only 1, were deployed in the southern provinces. Hostilities erupted on July 5, , when Peruvian forces crossed the Zarumilla river at several locations, testing the strength and resolve of the Ecuadorian border troops.

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Finally, on July 23, , the Peruvians launched a major invasion, crossing the Zarumilla river in force and advancing into the Ecuadorian province of El Oro. During the course of the Ecuadorian—Peruvian War , Peru gained control over part of the disputed territory and some parts of the province of El Oro, and some parts of the province of Loja , demanding that the Ecuadorian government give up its territorial claims. The Peruvian Navy blocked the port of Guayaquil , almost cutting all supplies to the Ecuadorian troops. After a few weeks of war and under pressure by the United States and several Latin American nations, all fighting came to a stop.

Ecuador and Peru came to an accord formalized in the Rio Protocol , signed on January 29, , in favor of hemispheric unity against the Axis Powers in World War II favouring Peru with the territory they occupied at the time the war came to an end. However, a post-Second World War recession and popular unrest led to a return to populist politics and domestic military interventions in the s, while foreign companies developed oil resources in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

In , construction of the Andean pipeline was completed. The pipeline brought oil from the east side of the Andes to the coast, making Ecuador South America's second largest oil exporter.

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  4. The pipeline in southern Ecuador did nothing to resolve tensions between Ecuador and Peru, however. This caused a long-simmering dispute between Ecuador and Peru, which ultimately led to fighting between the two countries; first a border skirmish in January—February known as the Paquisha Incident , and ultimately full-scale warfare in January where the Ecuadorian military shot down Peruvian aircraft and helicopters and Peruvian infantry marched into southern Ecuador.

    Each country blamed the other for the onset of hostilities, known as the Cenepa War. Ecuador and Peru signed the Brasilia Presidential Act peace agreement on October 26, , which ended hostilities, and effectively put an end to the Western Hemisphere's longest running territorial dispute. In , a "revolutionary and nationalist" military junta overthrew the government of Velasco Ibarra.

    He remained in power until , when he was removed by another military government. That military junta was led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda , who was declared chairman of the Supreme Council. The civil society more and more insistently called for democratic elections. Colonel Richelieu Levoyer , Government Minister, proposed and implemented a Plan to return to the constitutional system through universal elections. This plan enabled the new democratically elected president to assume the duties of the executive office.

    Elections were held on April 29, , under a new constitution. He took office on August 10, as the first constitutionally elected president after nearly a decade of civilian and military dictatorships. Many people believe that he was assassinated by the CIA, [ citation needed ] given the multiple death threats leveled against him because of his reformist agenda, deaths in automobile crashes of two key witnesses before they could testify during the investigation, and the sometimes contradictory accounts of the incident.

    His government was committed to improving human rights protection and carried out some reforms, notably an opening of Ecuador to foreign trade. However, continuing economic problems undermined the popularity of the ID, and opposition parties gained control of Congress in The emergence of the Amerindian population as an active constituency has added to the democratic volatility of the country in recent years.

    The population has been motivated by government failures to deliver on promises of land reform, lower unemployment and provision of social services, and historical exploitation by the land-holding elite. Their movement, along with the continuing destabilizing efforts by both the elite and leftist movements, has led to a deterioration of the executive office.

    Vice President Alfredo Palacio took his place and remained in office until the presidential election of , in which Rafael Correa gained the presidency. In December , president Correa declared Ecuador's national debt illegitimate, based on the argument that it was odious debt contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. To date, Correa's administration has succeeded in reducing the high levels of poverty and unemployment in Ecuador. After being elected in , President Lenin Moreno's government adopted a conservative policy : reduction of public spending , trade liberalization , flexibility of the labour code, etc.

    He also left the left-wing Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in August The Productive Development Act enshrines an austerity policy, and reduces the development and redistribution policies of the previous mandate. In the area of taxes, the authorities aim to "encourage the return of investors" by granting amnesty to fraudsters and proposing measures to reduce tax rates for large companies. In addition, the government waives the right to tax increases in raw material prices and foreign exchange repatriations.

    Ecuador is governed by a democratically elected President, for a four-year term. The current constitution was written by the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly elected in , and was approved by referendum in Since , voting is compulsory for all literate persons aged 18—65, optional for all other citizens.

    The executive branch includes 23 ministries. Provincial governors and councilors mayors, aldermen, and parish boards are directly elected.

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    There are thirteen permanent committees. He is accompanied by the vice-president, currently Otto Sonnenholzner , elected for four years with the ability to be re-elected only once. As head of state and chief government official, he is responsible for public administration including the appointing of national coordinators, ministers, ministers of State and public servants.

    The executive branch defines foreign policy, appoints the Chancellor of the Republic, as well as ambassadors and consuls, being the ultimate authority over the Armed Forces of Ecuador , National Police of Ecuador , and appointing authorities. The acting president's wife receives the title of First Lady of Ecuador.

    The legislative branch is embodied by the National Assembly , which is headquartered in the city of Quito in the Legislative Palace, and consists of assemblymen, divided into ten committees and elected for a four-year term. Fifteen national constituency elected assembly, two Assembly members elected from each province and one for every , inhabitants or fraction exceeding ,, according to the latest national population census.

    In addition, statute determines the election of assembly of regions, and metropolitan districts. Ecuador's judiciary has as its main body the Judicial Council, and also includes the National Court of Justice, provincial courts, and lower courts. Legal representation is made by the Judicial Council. The National Court of Justice is composed of 21 judges elected for a term of nine years. Judges are renewed by thirds every three years pursuant to the Judicial Code.

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    These are elected by the Judicial Council on the basis of opposition proceedings and merits. The justice system is buttressed by the independent offices of public prosecutor and the public defender. Auxiliary organs are as follows: notaries , court auctioneers, and court receivers. Also there is a special legal regime for Amerindians. The electoral system functions by authorities which enter only every four years or when elections or referendums occur. Its main functions are to organize, control elections, and punish the infringement of electoral rules. Its main body is the National Electoral Council , which is based in the city of Quito, and consists of seven members of the political parties most voted, enjoying complete financial and administrative autonomy.

    This body, along with the electoral court , forms the Electoral Branch which is one of Ecuador's five branches of government. Branch members hold office for five years. This branch is responsible for promoting transparency and control plans publicly, as well as plans to design mechanisms to combat corruption, as also designate certain authorities, and be the regulatory mechanism of accountability in the country.

    Ecuador rejected the recommendation on decriminalization of libel. According to Human Rights Watch HRW President Correa has intimidated journalists and subjected them to "public denunciation and retaliatory litigation". The sentences to journalists have been years of imprisonment and millions of dollars of compensation, even though defendants have been pardoned. According to HRW, Correa's government has weakened the freedom of press and independence of the judicial system. In Ecuador's current judicial system, judges are selected in a contest of merits, rather than government appointments.

    However, the process of selection has been criticized as biased and subjective. In particular, the final interview is said to be given "excessive weighing. The laws also forbid articles and media messages that could favor or disfavor some political message or candidate. In the first half of , twenty private TV or radio stations were closed down. In July the officials warned the judges that they would be sanctioned and possibly dismissed if they allowed the citizens to appeal to the protection of their constitutional rights against the state.

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    People engaging in public protests against environmental and other issues are prosecuted for "terrorism and sabotage", which may lead to an eight-year prison sentence. Ecuador's principal foreign policy objectives have traditionally included defense of its territory from external aggression and support for the objectives of the United Nations and the OAS. Ecuador's membership in the OPEC in the s and s allowed Ecuadorian leaders to exercise somewhat greater foreign policy autonomy.