With Cuba's Fidel Castro and Secretary of State George Shultz in the audience, resident Rod-rigo Borja Cevallos pledged at his inauguration to impose an emergency program to end "the most dramatic economic, social and moral crisis" in Ecuador's history.
Borja, inaugurated Wednesday evening, also vowed to renew diplomatic ties with Nicaragua, severed by his predecessor, Leon Febres Cordero, in 1985 after an argument with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.Ortega was expected to arrive in Quito to join Borja and visiting Latin and European leaders in a "mini-summit."
Eight European and Latin leaders, including Castro, watched as Borja delivered his inauguration speech Wednesday evening before the packed chambers of Congress.
Shultz, who left for Washington later Wednesday after a diplomatic farewell tour of nine Latin nations, kept a frosty distance from Castro. The 61-year-old Cuban leader, on his first trip to South America in 17 years, was dressed in his trademark army fatigues.
Borja, leader of the Democratic Left party, won the presidency this year after two unsuccessful tries in 1979 and 1984. Febres Cordero, a conservative millionaire and long-standing political foe of Borja's, was banned from seeking a new four-year term.
Borja called for measures to increase salaries and to provide jobs, but offered no further details on his reform plan.