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Heir to banana fortune, Daniel Noboa, wins Ecuador's presidential runoff election


We have a lot of news for you on this Monday morning, including this. The next president of Ecuador will be the heir to a banana-exporting empire. Voters made that choice yesterday amid unprecedented violence. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: The winner, 35-year-old Daniel Noboa, is the son of Ecuador's richest man, who unsuccessfully ran for the presidency five times. Last night, Noboa told supporters he's ready to get to work right away.


DANIEL NOBOA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "We're going to build a country that has been gravely hit by violence, by corruption and by hate," he said. Underscoring the violence, Noboa and his rival campaigned wearing bulletproof vests following the assassination of one of the candidates. Bringing peace to Ecuador will be tough. Homicides have skyrocketed in recent years as Mexican, Colombian and Balkan cartels, working with local gangs, fight for territory to control cocaine trafficking to the U.S. and to Europe. Fleeing the violence, record numbers of Ecuadorians have left, many crossing the U.S. southern border.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: Outside the University of Guayaquil in the large Pacific port city, vendors hawk water and snacks to voters lining up under the intense sun. Forty-nine-year-old Gustavo Paladines says he voted for Noboa because he's young.

GUSTAVO PALADINES: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "He might not have a long political career, but he has a different kind of experience," he says. Paladines is impressed with the president-elect's degrees from U.S. universities, including Harvard, which he says makes Noboa unlikely to steal. Voter Josselyn Anilema wanted the leftist candidate, Luisa Gonzalez, a protege of former President Rafael Correa.

JOSSELYN ANILEMA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: She says she hopes Ecuador's new leader will make the country safer. She says everyone now is being extorted by gangs. The new president will have a short time to tackle Ecuador's problems. The previous president, under threat of impeachment, took the rare step of dissolving Congress and resigning. That leaves just a year and a half left of his term for the new president to finish out.

Carrie Kahn, NPR news.

(SOUNDBITE OF BONOBO'S "OUTLIER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Carrie Kahn
Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on