1996 Abdala Bucaram Ortiz is elected president.
December 1996 In a televised address to the nation Bucaram attacks the daily newspaper, Hoy, which has been one of the harshest critics of his regime. Hoy has reported extensively on political patronage in the current and previous presidential administrations. Shortly after the president's attack on the newspaper, a series of television commercials, which journalists believe are backed by the president, urge a boycott of the newspaper.
February 1997 Thousands of protesters begin a 48-hour general strike against President Bucaram to protest economic austerity, nepotism and corruption. His financial proposals to balance the budget cause prices of electricity, fuel and telephone services to increase by as much as 300 percent this year.
Fabian Alarcon becomes president of Ecuador after Bucaram is overthrown by Parliament on grounds of mental incapacity. Bucaram is deported and moves to Panama.
Dec. 17, 1997 President Alarcon appears before the Supreme Court to defend himself against charges of corruption during his period as speaker of Congress. Alarcon is accused of fraudulently hiring more than 1,000 people to work in Congress who never took up their jobs. Alarcon asserts the accusations against him are malicious, and that it was not his responsibility to check that employees were actually working.
1998 Jamil Mahuad Witt is elected president.
Former President Bucaram is sentenced to two years in jail, in absentia, by the Supreme Court for slandering his political rivals. The case relates to allegations of corruption made by Bucaram in 1996 against a former presidential candidate Jaime Nebot.
February 1998 The Quito daily Hoy publishes a story alleging that an advisor to interim President Fabian Alarcon has diverted aid donated to flood victims. After the story is published, Pedro Castro, a local politician in the port city of Guayaquil, leads a rock-throwing mob in an attack on the newspaper's local bureau.
Jan. 22, 2000 Thousands of indigenous Indian protestors occupy the Congress building, staging their boldest action against President Jamil Mahuad's government. They accuse the government of corruption and mismanagement and blame Mahuad for the country's worst economic crisis in decades. The protests begin in reaction to Mahuad's plan to adopt the U.S. dollar as the country's principal currency, which might further impoverish millions of people living below the poverty line. Involvement of the military, whose guards allow the protestors to access the building, fuels speculation of the growing military opposition to the current government.
After holding talks with indigenous protestors outside the presidential palace, military chief Gen. Carlos Mendoza announces the formation of a three-man council to take over running the country from President Mahuad. According to Mendoza, the council will be made up by himself, indigenous Indian leader Antonio Vargas, and former Supreme Court Judge Carlos Solorzano. The council declares it will choose Vice President Gustavo Naboa for the presidential post.
Jan. 23, 2000 Gustavo Noboa assumes the presidency with the backing of the military and Parliament. He continues reforms initiated by Mahuad, including the adoption of the U.S. dollar as the national currency, an issue that caused the downfall of the previous president.
July 13, 2000 The Supreme Court orders the arrest of former President Jamil Wahuad following allegations that he and his Finance Minister Ana Lucia Armijos violated the constitution by freezing thousands of bank accounts to prevent the collapse of Ecuador's banking system in 1999. This event led to popular uprising in January in which he was forced from power.
February 2002 Indigenous people protest to bring oil production to near a standstill. They demand that more of the oil revenues should be invested in their communities.
June 24, 2002 Carlos Julio Emanuel, Ecuador's Finance minister, resigns over allegations that senior ministry officials were involved in a bribery scandal. Four officials of the ministry are fired after a local mayor said he'd been asked to pay bribes before being given access to government funds. Emanuel promises to investigate any corruption charges.
Sept. 18, 2002 Congress approves a bill to reform the Law of Radio and Television Broadcasting. Article 1 of the measure recognizes the rights of community radio stations run by India, Afro-Ecuadorian and peasant organizations to raise funds through donations, paid announcements and advertising. On Sept. 30, 2002, Noboa vetoes the bill and sends it back to Congress because he objects to articles that could be used to restrict press freedom. On Oct. 30 Congress overrides Noboa's veto.
November 2002 Lucio Gutierrez, leftist and former coup leader, wins presidential elections. He takes office in January of 2003.
Jan. 24, 2003 President Gutierrez orders navy officers into Guayaquil port to check that outgoing cargo trailers carry the correct customs and tax declaration documentation. According to Gutierrez, the phenomenon of corruption in ports and customs offices costs Ecuador US$1 billion every year. The president is expected to send military personnel to customs offices and other ports in a scheme that has been agreed to by Elsa de Mena, the head of the tax agency, who won recognition under the previous administration for tackling corruption.
June 2, 2003 Rodrigo Fierro Benitez, a reporter for the Quito-based daily El Commercio is sued for criminal defamation by Leon Febres-Cordero, former president of Ecuador. The lawsuit is filed in retaliation to a May 29th article written by Fierro, which accused the former president of colluding with other politicians to commit high-level financial malfeasance. The lawsuit requests damages of US$1 million and a two-year prison sentence for Fierro.
August 2003 Gustavo Noboa, former president of Ecuador who faces corruption charges, goes into exile in the Dominican Republic.
He stepped down from office in January 2003 for alleged financial mismanagement charges. Noboa's government used bonds worth US$126 million from a debt swap to support financially weak state-held banks. Prosecutors claim his use of bonds was illegal. Noboa's political rival Leon Febres Cordero alleges that irregularities in Mr. Noboa's foreign debt negotiations cost Ecuador US$9 billion.
October 2003 Cesar Fernandez, former governor of a coastal province, is arrested for exporting almost half a ton of cocaine to Mexico. Allegations later arise that Fernandez contributed to the election campaign of President Lucio Gutierrez. Guitierrez vehemently denies taking drug money and promises to resign if any proof emerges.
Transparency International ranks Ecuador as the second most corrupt country in Latin America.
May 2004 The law on Transparency and Access to Information is implemented. It requires all public entities, government contractors, trade unions, and public secondary and higher education establishments to make information public. The guiding principle of the law is that all public sector information is the property of the general public, with a few exceptions that are specified in the law.
April 2005 Anti-government protesters, numbering 10,000, take to the streets of Quito, after the Supreme Court drops corruption charges against former President Abdala Bucaram.
President Lucio Gutierrez restructured the Supreme Court in November of 2004 with the political backing of Mr. Bucaram. Bucaram had also helped Gutierrez block an opposition attempt to impeach him. Massive protests erupted on the streets in December 2004, when President Gutierrez's dismissed 27 of 31 Supreme Court judges claiming they were biased in favor of opposition parties, particularly the Social Christians.
In April, Congress, nevertheless, overthrows President Gutierrez, in a unanimous vote, after he endorses the use of violence to end the protests, in which at least one person died. Alfredo Palacio is sworn in as the new president and issues an arrest warrant for Gutierrez.
Once charges against Bucaram are lifted, he returns to Ecuador after being in exile for eight years.
November 2006 Rafael Correa wins presidential elections.
March 14 2007 Former opposition lawmakers clash with the police when attempting to regain their seats in Congress. The demonstrators are a part of a group of 57 legislators dismissed by President Correa for trying to block a referendum that he proposed. The referendum was aimed at re-writing the constitution and limiting the power of Congress, which in the President's view is corrupt.
July 13 2007 Congress is expected to censure Finance Minister Ricardo Patino over accusations that he deliberately manipulated bond markets for financial gain. In May a video surfaced that showed a meeting between Patino, Armando Rodas, a former Finance minister, and Carlos Abadi and Alan Dayan, of Abadi & Co., a New York investment firm. The video was taken days before the government was due to give US$135 million coupon payments to holders of its bonds due in 2030. They were discussing an apparent plan for investors to gain between US$150 to US$200 million, while the state would gain only a fraction of that share.
October 2007 In elections for a new constituent assembly, President Correa's Alianza Pais party wins 80 of the 130 seats.
November 2007 In protest of the recent election, the constituent assembly votes to dissolve Congress.
January 2008 Thousands of opponents to President Correa amass in Guayaquil to hear the city's Mayor Jaime Nebot's scathing attack on the government. Opposition leaders claim Correa is destroying civil rights and local autonomy and seeking to wield more power through his constitutional reforms, while Correa hopes the new constitution will help regulate the economy and end the political volatility in a country that has seen eight presidents come and go in the past decade. The protest comes five days after tens of thousands of Correa-supporters celebrated the first anniversary of his administration by marching into Guayaquil.
February 2008 An investigation is launched to find the hacker who broke into the website of Ecuador's presidential office while it was undergoing maintenance. The hacker left a message on the presidential website expressing support for President Correa and condemning corruption on the part of Jaime Nebot, the best-known opposition leader and mayor of Guayaquil.
April 2008 Attorney General Xavier Garaicoa resigns after President Correa asked the Anti-Corruption Secretariat to investigate the middle officials of the Attorney General's Office and the Inspector General's Office for illegal enrichment.
June 2008 Radio Sucre deputy news director, Raul Rodriguez, is shot dead on his way home in the northern district of Guayaquil after presenting his early morning program "Good Morning Ecuador." On the air Rodriguez was outspoken in his condemnation of alleged local government corruption and critical of the national government. He also criticized homosexuality and abortion. According to his family, shots were fired at the facade of his house in 2005, and the following year six men tried to kill him as he was parking his car.