León Febres Cordero

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León Febres-Cordero
File:León Febres Cordero.jpg
President of Ecuador
In office
10 August 1984 – 10 August 1988
Vice President Blasco Peñaherrera
Preceded by Osvaldo Hurtado
Succeeded by Rodrigo Borja
Mayor of Guayaquil
In office
10 August 1992 – 10 August 2000
Deputy Luis Chiriboga
Preceded by Harry Soria Lamán
Succeeded by Jaime Nebot
Personal details
Born León Esteban Febres Cordero Ribadeneyra
(1931-03-09)9 March 1931
Guayaquil, Guayas Province, Ecuador
Died 15 December 2008(2008-12-15) (aged 77)
Resting place Parques de la Paz, Guayaquil
Political party Social Christian Party
Spouse(s) María Eugenia Cordovez Pontón (1954–1988)
Cruz María Massuh (1988–2008)
Signature León Febres Cordero's signature

León Esteban Febres-Cordero Ribadeneyra (9 March 1931 – 15 December 2008), known in the Ecuadorian media as LFC or by his surname (Febres-Cordero), was President of Ecuador for a four-year term from 10 August 1984 to 10 August 1988. During his Presidency he sought to introduce market-oriented reforms, and also led a security crackdown on a guerrilla group, ¡Alfaro Vive, Carajo!.[1][2]

Early life

Febres-Cordero was born to a well-to-do Guayaquil family on 9 March 1931. His father sent him to study in the United States, where he first attended Charlotte Hall Military Academy in Maryland, then Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania for high school, and then graduated as an engineer from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey (which he visited after being elected in 1984).[3][4]

Upon his return to Guayaquil, Febres-Cordero entered business, dealing variously in paper, electrical parts, chemicals and textiles. Eventually he became an executive in the Noboa Group, a large agribusiness.[3]


Presidency (1984–88)

The Febres Cordero government promoted a conservative economic policy. While some praised Febres Cordero's economic policies, they became largely unpopular with most Ecuadorians. Several of his ministers were accused of corruption. His Finance Minister (and future Vice President), Alberto Dahik, was impeached by Congress.[5]

Febres Cordero, a close ally of US President Ronald Reagan, was sharply criticized for an increase in human rights violations, including torture and extrajudicial killings.[6] Current President Rafael Correa established a truth commission to investigate human rights violations, particularly those that occurred during Febres Cordero's administration.

In 1987 Febres Cordero was kidnapped for 11 hours[7] by members of the air force demanding the freedom of General Frank Vargas Pazzos, who had been imprisoned after leading two uprisings in March 1986, aimed at toppling the Minister of Defense. Congress approved a resolution granting Vargas amnesty, but Febres Cordero refused to publish the resolution, thus denying it the force of law. It was only after his January 1987 kidnapping that he signed the amnesty and released Vargas.[5]


Later he became the mayor of Guayaquil for two terms (1992–2000)[8] and then ran successfully for a seat in Congress. He was a member of the centre-right Social Christian Party.

Personal life

Febres-Cordero was first married to former First Lady of Ecuador María Eugenia Cordovez, and they had four daughters – María Eugenia, María Fernanda, María Liliana and María Auxiliadora.[3][8] They divorced in 1988 after thirty-four years of marriage.[9] Later he married Cruz Maria Massu, but they had no children.[8]


A smoker, he died aged 77 in Guayaquil, on 15 December 2008 at 4:30pm, of lung cancer and emphysema.[8] He was granted a state funeral. His remains were buried at the Cementerio Parque de la Paz.


  1. New York Times, 16 November 2008, Febres Cordero, giant of Ecuador politics, is dead
  2. "Leon Febres Cordero". The Daily Telegraph. 16 December 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Riding, Alan (1984) "Man in the News: Entrepreneur for Ecuador: Leon Febres Cordero Rivadeneira" The New York Times 9 May 1984, page A-10, col. 3
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYi3xl8i_vs
  5. 5.0 5.1 CRISIS IN ECUADOR: DEMOCRACY IS LOSER. New York Times, 28 January 1987
  6. New York Times, 13 March 1988, Report Finds Ecuador Rights Abuses Rose Sharply
  7. El Mundo, 16 December 2008, León Febres Cordero, ex presidente de Ecuador
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Solano, Gonzalo (2008), The Miami Herald, 15 December 2008, from the Associated Press, "Former Ecuadorean President Febres Cordero dies"
  9. "Fallece ex primera dama Eugenia Cordovéz, primera esposa de León Febres Cordero". Ecuador En Vivo. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Osvaldo Hurtado
President of Ecuador
Succeeded by
Rodrigo Borja