Galo Plaza Lasso was born in New York in 1906, the son of liberal president Leonidas Plaza (1901-1905/1912-1916) and Avelina Lasso, the daughter of one of the main conservationist landowners of Ecuador’s northern Sierra (highlands). President of Ecuador from 1948 to 1952, he was, without doubt, one of the agents of modernization of the country. The following paragraphs summarise the ideology of a “20th Century Liberal”, whose thinking transcended borders.
“… I think that the president should always be in close contact with his people, not be a remote and feared demigod, but someone you can relate to, a sympathetic human being”.
“…we must worry about the conservation of the richness of our soils, with the characteristic of urgent necessity. We can no longer exploit ourselves, but rather think of our future, given the extent of cultivation as much in the Costa as in the Sierra. We need measures and programs to save our eroded arable land which washes away when the rivers rise. The haphazard destruction of our forests in the Sierra and the Costa is changing rainfall to the extent that one day, not so distant as many believe, our rich agricultural soils could be converted to wastelands, as has happened in other parts of the planet”.
“We all know that changes are coming in America’s economy. We have to train ourselves so that the popular majority will be the beneficiaries… we have to recognise that we’re lacking a reform which starts at the base…In agriculture we have to put the land in the hands of those who work it”.