Tag Archive | "law"

Ecuador Amazon Problem


Many readers sent me an article from Agora Financial entitled “The Chevron Witch Trial: The Changing Face of Resource Nationalism” about the Ecuador Amazon problem and the ensuing Chevron lawsuit.

See why these Ecuador export tour delegates are creating earning potential and doing some environmental good.

ecuador-flower-exports

Many readers sent me notes similar to this: Gary, I wondered if you’d seen this and were familiar with the case, given your knowledge of and interest in Ecuador?  It sounds pretty scary and doesn’t reflect well on Ecuadorian justice and its authorities, if it’s true. You might want to comment in one of your messages as I assume other of your readers have also seen this matter reported. Regards

The recent article seemed to blame the Ecuadorian government for the problem and has some good points.

Here is a portion of that article:

Ecuador-legal-system

As mentioned the article had some valid points.

However…

We are very familiar with this story which is very, very old news going back into the 1970s.

We have lived with the Amazonians and spent quite a lot of time with the shamans there. Here I am with a Sierra Sion healer.

In fact we built a camp to help a small community of Amazonians who wanted tourism rather than oil revenues to support them.  We lost the entire investment when the FARC invaded that area.   Learn more about our Amazon trips and the Amazon village.

So I see the plight of the Amazonians as well.

I drive a car fueled with gas. I heat my home with electricity and use electricity that may come from diesel fueled generators and buy products delivered from abroad brought to me on ships propelled by their fossil fueled oil bunkers.

So there are two sides to this story.   Quite correctly the emails I have received are, half from this type of article and half from the environmentalists and humanitarians who say Chevron has cheated the poor natives of the Amazon.

See information on the other side from Amnesty International entitled Chevron (CVX) in the Amazon  Oil Rights or Human Rights? Texaco’s legacy, Chevron’s responsibility

Newsweek wrote a good article about this Amazon lawsuit over a year ago that has a balanced view.

If you Google the phrase “amazon chevron lawsuit” you’ll see dozens of articles about this… looking at both sides of the picture.

Plus there are many who argue that this has nothing to do with Chevron or Ecuador but the US legal system that encourages attorneys to file lawsuits like this.

One article “The Chevron Ecuador Lawsuit: It’s all about the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin says:  Sure it is. The 48 so-called plaintiffs or the 30,000 indigenous people we hear so much about in the media aren’t the financial beneficiaries in the law suit. The money goes to the Amazon Defense Coalition (ADC) and the law firm of Kohn, Swift & Graft.

So who is the culprit… the oil companies?  The Ecuador government?  The lawyers or we the people who use fossil fuels?

Our hearts personally go out to the poor people of the Amazon who are slowly being destroyed by civilization.

Yet we see the business view and we do like a warm home and to travel by car.

Plus if it were not for resource exploration and extraction many, many more people would be poor.

Yes, business does exploit.

There is a similar tales of bad exploitation in the part of Ecuador where we live, not with Chevron but with Ascendant Copper Company.

And another with Mitsubishi Mining.

This is because we the consumer buy their product.

Now another dilemma has bubbled up… with pharmaceuticals.

An October 17 Associated press article “Ecuador’s Correa plans to bypass drug patents” says:  President Rafael Correa says he is preparing to override a host of drug patents to provide lower-priced generic medications in Ecuador.  Correa says Ecuador will seek “compulsory licenses” from companies to produce medications considered indispensable.  Under World Trade Organization rules, countries can issue “compulsory licenses” to disregard patent rights, but only after negotiating with the patent owners and paying adequate compensation. Governments can skip the negotiating by declaring a public health emergency.  Correa says access to medicine is a human right and his decision is motivated by “the philosophy of 21st century socialism.”

When I recently noticed this I was really pretty happy to see this.

Merri and  do not use pharmaceuticals ourselves but recognize the importance they play in many people’s lives.  I consider a lot pf pharmaceutical marketing one of the biggest con games in this generation… makes Madoff pale in comparison.

It is hard for me to have sympathy for this industry as I believe that many pharmaceuticals are bilking the US public.

Already many of our readers come to Ecuador to get their prescriptions at a quarter the US cost.  This hopefully will allow this to continue or do even more.

However…

Where does it end?  If patent law loses its validity what incentive will anyone have to risk investing in new inventions and ideas?

So what can we… the little guy do?

There is not much we can do…  but if we all take some small steps, these rivulets become streams that can turn into torrents that do create change.

In Merri’s and my case, we created a small foundation Land of the Sun (LOTS) to help the environment and the poor of Ecuador.   The foundation rejuvenated the hotel Meson de las Flores which now provides a nice number of jobs at above average wages.  Our 2009 project was helping the Village of Topo above Cotacachi with its infrastructure, school and water system.  Also, LOTS sends a dozen children to school and university in our area…including the first university student from Topo.  In the past, we brought water to indigenous villages and an 80,000 gallon reservoir, schools, reforested 250,000 trees and etc….all off the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

LOTS promotes Ecuador flowers… those grown in green plantations certified by Veriflora.

We promote the ideas of having an internet business that sells exports from Ecuador to help stimulate the Ecuador economy… and to help North Americans who find they need new avenues of income.

Here are delegates at our most recent Ecuador export tour…

ecuador-flower-exports

learning…

ecuador-flower-exports

how to conduct…

ecuador-flower-exports

an Ecuador flower party.

In another way we were early advocates of green investing in the mid 2000s through our Spottingtrends.com site and mutilicurrencyinvesting.com where we launched our Green Portfolio Study in 2006.

This is one reason why we focus on green investing and business ideas.
See http://www.garyascott.com/2008/04/01/2064.html

Here perhaps is the most important message.  Self interest is nature’s way of making sure every sentient being remains alive.  Only we human’s  have an imagination to understand the risks of ungoverned expansion.   All other life forms, given the chance will grow themselves out of existence.

Due to the conflict of our vision and this natural self serving impulse, we know that consumers will tend buy what seems most comfortable to them in the short term.

We know that big business will often take advantage of this fact and exploit, without conscious, resources to serve this impulse.

This conflict creates huge problems.  Huge problems create great opportunity… so look for small ways you can serve yourself now and help the future.

Let the big guys fiddle around with their battles while we each do the best we can… trying to make positive environmental and humanitarian statements and changes through the way we live enjoying earning, investing and living in the sun each day.

Gary

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

December 6-8 Blaine Watson’s  Beyond Logic & Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us in 2010.   Attend more than one seminar and tour and save even more plus get the three emailed courses free.

Our multi seminar-tour discounts have grown!

See the 2010 winter schedule below.

2 seminar courses & tours

3 seminar courses & tours   $1199 $1,749

4 seminar courses & tours   $1,399 $2,149

5 seminar courses & tours  $1,599 $2,499

(Be sure to show in the comments section which courses and tours you are attending)

International Club attend up to 52 courses and tours in 2010 free.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour ($499) Couple $749
Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 16-17     Coastal Real Estate Tour
Jan. 19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Jan. 22-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999
Feb. 15-16   Travel to Quito and Andes
Feb  17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Feb. 20-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Mar. 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999
Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes
Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Mar. 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour
Mar. 22-23    Coastal Real Estate Tour
Mar. 25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

The greatest asset of all is the ability to labor at what you love wherever you live. This brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we are providing a special three for one offer with our  course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business

This course can help you create your own internet business.

Our emailed course “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Web Based Business” is a continuing educational program.  You receive the first 28 lessons when you enroll and a new lesson every week or two.

This course teaches how to create a web based business and is developed from the ongoing experiences that we have from our successful and profitable internet business.

This course is well worth the enrollment fee of $299… but currently you also receive two additional courses FREE.

The other two courses are #1: International Business Made EZ, and #2: Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.

These two courses have sold for $398 and thousands have paid this price. We add them to your course, at no added cost, as I believe they will help you develop a better business in these crucial times..

Even Better Get All three Courses Free

To make this offer even more compelling,  I am giving everyone who enrolls in all our seminars or tours for any one month, October, November or December, “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course,”  “Self Fulfilled- How to be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ” free.

Here is another Ecuador export delegate at Hilana. Learn about and see more Hilana export products below.

Internet-export-idea

Ecuador & International Banking Update


Here is an important Ecuador & international banking update created by the wonderful world of mobility in which we live.

Our global mobility provides huge benefits… broadens our horizons and enriches mankind through global trade.   Yet being global also creates some problems… one of them is banking.

This site recently posted a message about Ecuador banks that began with, “I do not trust Ecuador Banks.”

This is not a slight on Ecuador.  This statement is a comment on the realities of trying to maintain control of one’s own wealth in an era where almost all governments are increasing control over money.

The banking article was followed by  another article stressing  the importance of diversification in Ecuador Diversified.

Here is a reminder of the importance of this information.  A couple of years ago I purchased a block of buildings in Ecuador planning to resell them.  I am according to plan selling them now and recently received a payment.

My attorney wrote this to me:

They deposited funds in my account last Wednesday to pay for the condo and asked me to send to you.  There is a 2% tax on money going out of Ecuador which was recently established, plus bank commissions.  I will wait for your instructions  to wire these funds to you.

There previously was a 1% tax but it has now been increased to two percent. This increase is not a big deal but a step in the wrong direction and a reminder that we should never trust any one country, currency or banking system.

I just sent our Ecuador Living subscribers an alert about one more Ecuador banking problem.  Ecuador Living subscribers click here.

Learn how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Hence my mantra to have what I call a “Six Point Command Posture” which is to:

Live in one country
Bank in a second country
Invest in many countries
Earn in two or more countries
Use a company incorporated in a fifth country
Take a second residence

Where to Bank

Knowing where to bank is a growing problem… especially for Americans.  Non Americans should read this article any as you’ll see that you are not exempt from this problem either.

Americans are being crushed between a rock and a hard spot.

The Rock. Many US banks will no longer accept Americans residing overseas because they have a foreign address. This has been caused by the US Patriot Act.  Banks have to know their clients so they refuse to accept (or keep) clients with overseas addresses, even Americans who have banked with them for decades, but change their address.  The following banks have been sited as closing accounts with just 30 days notice of long term customers just because they took on a US address: Ameriprise, Bank of America; Bank of New Hampshire; Citibank; Citizens Bank; Edward Jones, St. Louis; E- Trade; Fidelity Investments; INGDirect; JPMorganChase; Morgan Stanley; National City Bank in Riverview, Michigan; Provident Bank, Maryland; Smith Barney; T. Rowe Price; USAA Federal Saving Bank; Vanguard mutual fund; Wachovia; Washington Mutual; Washington Mutual Investment, Spokane; WellsFargo; Zions Direct.

The Hard Spot. At the same time the IRS has created a set of regulations that discourage non US banks from accepting Americans.

Many Swiss and British based banks will no longer accept Americans.

Here’s an excerpt from a 13, June 2009 Telegraph article entitled “Lloyds Bank hit by Obama tax purge” by By Louise Armitstead:   Banking group drops American customers in UK ahead of costly proposals to stamp out tax evasion  Lloyds Banking Group is ditching American customers based in Britain pending a crackdown on international tax evasion planned by President Barack Obama.

This week American private client account-holders at Lloyds’s received letters informing them of an “important change in policy regarding clients who are resident, domiciled or linked to the United States by property or asset holdings”. They were told the bank had “no choice” but to “cease acting as your investment manager.”

One letter sent to Bank of Scotland’s portfolio management division, which is now part of Lloyds, said: “The USA has a mature regulatory environment governed by its Securities and Exchange Commission. These regulations mean that we are not licensed to manage portfolios for US clients.”

The letter added: “Unfortunately we cannot offer an equivalent service from within Lloyds Banking Group.” Clients have been advised to transfer their assets.

One recipient, who has lived in the UK for over 25 years, said: “After all this time, I’ve suddenly been told I must take my money elsewhere and I don’t understand why. Now I’m scared that other banks won’t take me on either.”

The Brits are no the only group shedding US account holders.

A July 12, 2009 USA Today article entitled “Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap”  by Kevin McCoy explains how other banks have booted Americans as well.  An excerpt says: The closely watched Justice Department court fight to get the names of 52,000 suspected American tax evaders from Swiss banking giant UBS has prompted some other foreign banks to drop U.S. clients they once welcomed, tax experts said Monday.

Eager to avoid a similar struggle with federal prosecutors, banks including Credit Suisse and HSBC in recent weeks have notified American clients they must close their offshore accounts or transfer them to the institutions’ U.S.-based operations, where tax reporting requirements are far stricter.

“Overall, the international banking community, and particularly the offshore banking community, has been very friendly to American account holders,” said William Sharp, a tax law specialist at the Sharp Kemm law firm in Tampa. “That changed in the past couple of months as a result of the UBS case.”

The Dutch were early in dropping American clients.

ABN AMRO, a huge, Dutch based, international bank gave all clients  with U.S. passports within 30 days notice in 2008 and then closed their accounts because of the  high costs to comply with U.S. regulations.

Expect this problem to get worse! Beginning in 2010 stronger US reporting rules will force even more overseas banks to stop accepting Americans.  They simply cannot afford to fill all the obligations.

Americans should not feel totally alone…nor should non US investors feel totally safe from being shut out of a banking center.

According to the British Times Newspaper, Barclays Bank used the US anti-terror laws to shut down the personal bank accounts of British citizens who were working for Iranian owned businesses.

The bank enforced anti-Iran sanctions under the US Patriot Act.  Accounts of Iranian owned companies that operated completely legally in Britain were shut.  But Barclays went much further. They amazingly shut down accounts of directors of these companies and even more amazing they shut the personal accounts of ordinary staff members, including clerical officers, computer engineers and bank tellers, just because they worked for an Iranian owned company.

Here is an excerpt from a June June 6, 2008 Times of London article entitled, “Barclays bank rejects customers to comply with US terror law:”  Barclays began the account closures in February, shortly after reports from industry sources that US Treasury agents had been touring the City of London putting pressure on financial institutions to withdraw from any form of business that might have Iranian links.

One source told The Times that City banks had been warned that they would lose access to the US market if they continued to deal with Iranian businesses. Barclays has extensive business interests in the United States.

Case study: Cast out in the supermarket

Chris was doing the shopping in Tesco when Barclays rang to tell him that his bank account was being closed. Later that evening his wife was told that her Barclays account, which she had held for 25 years, was also being closed.

Chris, 46, works in IT for Bank Saderat, and his wife is in the accounts department of Melli Bank. Both institutions are Iranian-owned. “They said it was because of sanctions but I knew there were no British sanctions on the banks. I asked them if they were responding to US laws and they said they didn’t have to give me a reason,” he said.

The couple opened new accounts with one of Barclays’ rivals but they had difficulty transferring standing orders, especially Chris’s child-support payments. He said: “I know that UK banks are being pressured by America to stop all dealings with Iran but what impact will it have to shut an English bloke’s account with an English bank? The Iranians won’t give a monkey’s. What upsets me is the lack of respect Barclays have for their customers.”

This last comment hit me strongly… the lack of respect many of the big banks have for their clients.

This is one reason I have enjoyed banking with Jyske Bank in Denmark for more than 20 years.  Jyske is big and well managed enough to be very safe, but small enough to provide genuine care and attention to the individual.

This is why I was not surprised that a number of years ago, Jyske made the decision to spend a lot of time, energy and money to comply with US law so they could continue to serve US as well as non US investors around the world.

This shift though has created some confusion. For example a Reader from the Netherlands sent me this note:  Hello Gary, Since beginning of this year we are subscribed to your newsletter. In your articles we read that it is possible to go to Jyske Bank and start doing multi-currency for about 30,000 dollars. We were very enthusiastic about this philosophy and asked the Jyske Bank for information. However we were very surprised when we got information back including the message that we have to start with $150,000 euro. Can you help us and maybe clarify the misunderstanding about this starting amount?  Thank you very much in advance!

The services and minimums required by Jyske Bank Private Bank (JBPB) for non US investors differs from those offered by Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) who serves US investors.

Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) offers Americans managed accounts, advisory accounts and IRA services to US clients.

JGAM’s managed accounts provide Americans with access to international investments in all currencies, traded on all stock exchanges.

There are two levels of managed accounts for US investors:

Mutual Fund Managed Accounts, $50,000 to $200,000.  Accounts from $50-200,000 are mainly  invested in mutual funds and ETF`s in order to get the appropriate diversification.

Individual Investment Managed Accounts from $200,000 up are mainly invested in individual securities as trading costs are not prohibitive for this size of account.

There are two forms of advisory accounts for US investors.

Advisory Accounts for US Residents.  Accounts for US residents are available and provide access to investments in currencies, commodities and US listed securities.

Advisory Accounts for Americans who are resident outside the US.   US citizens who are resident outside the US (proof of residence is required) have access to investments in currencies, commodities and all international investments in all currencies, traded on all stock exchanges.

The minimum required to start an advisory account is $25,000.

Because the minimum annual fee is  $1,000 JGAM recommends an initial deposit of minimum $50,000.

IRA accounts are managed accounts with more conservative investments than those in a normal  managed account.  IRA accounts require a minimum investment of $50,000.

Jyske Bank Private Bank offers the following services to non US investors.

Non US Clients can open accounts with minimum deposit of Euro 150,000 (approximately 220,000 USD), or equivalent in another currency.

JBPB works with six profiles:

Income profile. A low-risk profile, invested in currency accounts (cash) and/or traditional bonds.

Stable profile. A low-risk profile, invested in bonds (incl. high- yielding bonds), a small equity part.

Balanced profile. A medium-risk profile, invested in equities and bonds (main emphasis on bonds).

Dynamic profile. A medium-risk profile, invested in equities and bonds (main emphasis on equities).

Growth profile. A high-risk profile, invested mainly in equities and a lesser share in bonds.

Aggressive profile. A high-risk profile, invested almost exclusively in equities.

There are six managed strategy funds (available only in Euro) for investors who want managed services with minimum deposits of US$ 220,000. These six funds are based on the principles of asset allocation and match the investment profiles above so all investors can attain risk diversification, risk management with even a limited investment.

There is a full Discretionary Portfolio Management service for investors who want managed services with US$ 350,000 and above. This service is also based on the six strategies above. Jyske Bank will invest and manage the clients portfolio in close cooperation with the Bank´s experts and their network of international partners. These strategies are offered in EUR, USD, GBP, DKK and SEK.

Investors, who do not want managed services, and have accounts of US$ 220,000 or more, can wish to engage in an active dialogue with their advisers and be very involved in the decision-making process. based on the client’s investment profile. They can invest in currency accounts in a large number of currencies, all tradeable equities and bonds, mutual funds and commodities.

Here is one huge feature I like very much about both JBPB and JGAM…  No Jyske employees in  management, advisory services or any employee receives any kind of bonus pay. This eliminates any temptation for hidden agendas to exist.  Employees have no incentive give any advice or take any action that is not in the client’s best interest.

Technology has given great mobility to our wealth. This mobility is good for the individual and the global economy… but governments do not like this as they wish to control our finances.  The tension created by this struggle between the individual and the collective has created a never ending thrust and counter thrust of regulations and adaptions to these rules.  It is harder to maintain a diversified global portfolio than it used to be… but the effort is still worthwhile.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am giving everyone who enrolls in our North Carolina or Ecuador International Business & Investing seminar in October or November our “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course” (offered at $299) free.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Thank you for your inspiration and information outlining foreign banking and retirement.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome for planning the steps to evaluate the early stages of living abroad.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us with Jyske. Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina with our webmaster  David Cross & Thomas Fischer of JGAM

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour (early sign up before Sept. 1, $499 per person).

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799

Read the full articles:

Lloyds Bank hit by Obama tax purge

Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap

Barclays bank rejects customers to comply with US terror law

Ecuador Scams


Ecuador scams are like scams anywhere in the world… best avoided.

There are enough scams in the world that we have no control over like… Madoff…  like Federal spending… like Social Security… like underfunded pensions.

Yet we can avoid scams  that we would otherwise bring on ourselves.

Decades ago we learned that there are many scams in investment markets which is why we have always focused on working with large, experienced global firms like Jyske Bank.

Here are delegates chatting in the courtyard of Meson de las Flores with Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management during an IBEZ Ecuador course.

ecuador-shots

Yet scams go way beyond the investing community and they are everywhere… including Ecuador.

When one moves to a new place… it is hard to know all the ropes. This is a bit frightening and often leads new arrivals or investors to depend more on other expats.

This can be a huge error… because Ecuador scams… or scams anywhere are promoted as often by other expats as they are by local residents.  

People are not more honest just because they come from the same country you do.

I learned this the hard way when I moved to Hong Kong almost 41 years ago.

I had a really wonderful apartment in the mid levels of Hong Kong on Bowen Road.  “Bowen Do Ng Ho” (Bowen Road #5 – This is the last of my Cantonese!)  We had an extra bedroom we rented to a very nice American woman. She met a guy who became her boyfriend… a redheaded freckled guy I recall. He was an architect… so he said… with a San Francisco firm arriving in Hong Kong to build a skyscraper.  He was a very pleasant fellow… a “jolly chap” my British friends used to say.

Somehow, for the financing, the woman, who rented our apartment, became involved. To make a long story short… the guy (and the financing) disappeared.  Huge bills owing were strewn around town.  The woman, who rented our apartment, was devastated and left on the hook.  We had all been fooled until days after this con artist fled.  We had all felt more comfortable since we were dealing with what we thought was a “known”…someone from our own culture.

So my ears perked up when a reader wrote to me after our latest Ecuador Visa Update.

“Gary, When I read your newsletter today, I was hoping you would say something about the cost of a visa.  Unfortunately, there are people who are promising newcomers a resident’s visa for $7000.  I’ve never heard of anyone paying more than $2000 for a resident’s visa, no matter which lawyer they used.

The reader went on to say that one  couple discovered this scam and tried to back out of the contract.  This elderly couple was threatened by a lawsuit.

I do not have all the facts so cannot be sure if this is a pure scam… just really unfair pricing or if more than just a visa was offered, but $7,000 seemed awfully high if all that was provided was just a resident visa.  I immediately wrote to the three attorneys who advise us in Ecuador to check on the price.

Although we were totally unaware of any of this, it did remind us that all of us should always take care and do our research when we move or visit other countries.  This is what I wrote to the 3 attorneys that we use:

“I would like to inform readers about what is a reasonable amount they should expect to pay for a resident visa.  Could you provide this?  Regards, Gary”

The first reply came from our attorney, Dr. Andres Cordova. He wrote:  Dear Gary:  If this story is true then it’s terrible. Poor people. They can contact me immediately and I will take care of them.  I will review their case for free.  It may be possible that these possible scammers are doing things under the
table, cutting corners. This would be bad, but instilling fear on clients is beyond reproachable.

Lawyers would normally charge between $800 and $1.000 for a visa, including for a family. In some cases where there is an added complication the cost may be a little bit higher.

Some bigger law firms may charge between $2,000 and $4,000 for a visa but normally when obtained of behalf of major investors, corporate CEOs, etc.  I believe $800 to $1.500 is reasonable. We charge $800 to $1.000.  Regarding expenses, they are of about $350 per visa plus some $100 in general, for the whole family.  Best regards, Andres.

This is very kind of Andres to offer free legal assistance. He has helped so many of our readers in the past. See ways he has helped readers here.

Another excellent and reliable attorney, Roberto Moreno, wrote:   Gary,  Yes, $7000 is absolutely out of range. Depending on the visa we charge from US$900 to US$1200.  Also, it is important to inform the readers that some lawyers will just obtain visas with few requirements, especially in Guayaquil.  The risk is that the visa could be removed later on. We prefer now to obtained all the visas for our clients at the immigration office in Quito.

cotacachi-green

Gary Scott and immigration attorney, Roberto Moreno, at Meson.

Learn more about Roberto and his firm here.

The third attorney, Floridalva Zambrano wrote:

Hi Gary, This is a terrible thing!!  Your reader is correct,  the cost of obtaining a resident  visa, including attorney fees,  fluctuates between $1,200 and $2,000, being this last one a very high one.  We usually charge  about $1,300.  Checking with other attorneys  from Quito this is the the standard cost.  Hope this helps!!

Here is one of our Ecuador real estate tours meeting with our attorney, Floridalva Zambrano.

ecuador-beach-prices

Flori is one of the few attorneys with such experience that when she conveys a property, a US title insurance company will provide US title insurance.

Learn about Flori’s law firm here.

There you have it… three very reliable Ecuador law firms charge about $1,200 for a resident visa.  Whether you feel someone charging much more is a scam or not is up to you… but when you move to Ecuador or anywhere that is new… you are more vulnerable so watch out for price gouging and scams.

Gary

One benefit of an Ecuador Living subscription is that we do not take commissions or kickbacks on real estate, legal work, hotel or tour reservations… or anything.  There are no hidden agendas.   We even donated our hotel to a foundation to help promote employment in Ecuador so we do not even make a penny from the income at Meson de las Flores.    Our goal is to help our readers enjoy safe, easy, profitable, low cost journeys to Ecuador.  Learn more about our Ecuador Living Service here.

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Merri, I am sitting here with a smile on my face.  I am always amazed at the turn around that I get from my emails to you.  I know you are busy with all of the projects that you and Gary address on a daily basis and appreciate very much you making time for mine.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina with our webmaster  David Cross & Thomas Fischer of JGAM

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour (early sign up before Sept. 1, $499 per person).

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799

Ecuador Preconstruction Property


Here is an Ecuador beach preconstruction property.

ecuador-beach-property

We do not normally write about or allow advertising of Ecuador preconstruction property but Dr. Andres Cordova, our friend and attorney, has helped so many of our readers over the past decade that we skipped this rule and posted a message about his special Ecuador preconstruction property.

Andres is the grandson of one of Ecuador’s more famous presidents. He is a senior partner in a law firm that represents Ecuador’s treasury.

Yet to me he is an example of how Ecuadorians are willing to help others in so many ways.

For example, we warn our delegates and readers to stay away from the Mariscal Sucre area in Quito. This is a very touristy area that many of the tour agents promote. This area is loaded with very clever pickpocket type thieves.

Regretfully some delegates do not mind our warnings, as was the case when a delegate from our course, on his way back to the US, visited this area. His carry on bag was stolen (in a tricky but non aggressive way). He lost everything, passport, wallet, car keys, credit card, driver’s license, computer. He was stranded with $3 left in his pocket.

Fortunately he called us in Cotacachi. I called Andres who immediately left his Sunday afternoon lunch and within the hour had picked up our delegate, given him $200 cash and sent him back to us in Cotacachi. (The US Embassy would not help the delegate until Monday.)

This is not the first time Andres has gone out of his way to pull a delegate’s irons out of a fire. A few years ago, a delegate arrived for our Import-Export Expedition. The delegate had journeyed to Peru first and purchased many huge bags of goods to take back to the US . Naturally Ecuadorian customs wanted to tax them. Though it was nearly midnight, one call to Andres got him working and he immediately sorted the problem out.

Now Andres has done it again. A reader just sent me this note.

Wanted you to know that Andres handled the closing on my place and would not charge anything…Nada, 0..Maybe that was his way to make up for his sometimes slow response time…..In any event that is impressive..Hope you are well. We will be in Argentina most of November, then to Nicaragua and Panama in January…One of my sons in selling property in Panama ..Cheers,.Ed

Andres continuing help and goodwill to our readers is one reason I have posted details of his Ecuador beach preconstruction property offer (get a $135,000 condo for $35,000) here.

We are not involved in this project financially or in any way.  Preconstruction property deals involve high risk and anyone who considers this Ecuador beach preconstruction property deal should use all normal due diligence.

Gary

Learn about an Ecuador Southern Coastal Real Estate tour here.

Bank Privacy Gone


The problem of getting Bank Privacy is gone.  Now the problem is being able to get a good international bank at all.

The problem is that Americans have lost control of their wealth.

An insidious form of of loss has been taking place for decades and now we are in the end game.

The theft has taken place in the same way the Nazis robbed the Germans of control.

A German industrialist once explained how the Nazi’s took over when he explained that very few people were Nazis.  However many enjoyed how the Nazis brought back an external German pride.  Most were just too busy to care.  The majority let it all happen at an early stage.   Too late the realization came that the Nazis were in total control.   See how this has happened to your wealth here.

This is what has happened to American wealth.

Now we are in the end game.  I have been warning about this problem of reduced bank privacy for over 2o years… first in my printed books and newsletters… later at my web site.

Here is what I wrote at this site almost nine years ago to the day, July 13, 2000.

More on the loss of bank privacy

Bank privacy no longer exists. Some years ago I wrote about the insidious tactics that the US and other governments have used to erode financial privacy and personal liberty and pointed out that the problem is that the government does not attack the individual but puts the pressure on the overseas financial institutions. The current additional move by the US government to collect tax is just one more small step.

The message below shows that one of our readers does not understand this yet. After his message I put my comments below.

“Gary  How can a non-US institution, and there must be many thousands of them in hundreds of countries, be “forced” to comply with the IRS and become a tax collector for them? I would think that most of them would tell the IRS to stick it. Or simply ignore it. Sounds more like scare tactics for US “taxpayers.”

The problem began in the 70s when the SEC sued an investment manager in the US who was managing an overseas mutual fund which kept all its money in Switzerland. The SEC demand to the Swiss bank (Credit Suisse) that they return the money (it was many millions) to the US. The Swiss bank pointed out that the fund had not broken any law and that they had no legal way to return the money.

The US simply seized an equivalent amount of Credit Suisse’s money in the US. The was the beginning of the end of bank privacy. The simple fact is for an international bank to operate it must hold accounts in the US, England, Germany, Japan, etc. This makes these institutions vulnerable to the authorities in each country.

Now we can see that this bank privacy problem has grown so serious that more and more international banks will not accept US investors.

Excerpts from USA TODAY article entitled “Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap”  by Kevin McCoy shows how far the loss of bank privacy has grown.

The closely watched Justice Department court fight to get the names of 52,000 suspected American tax evaders from Swiss banking giant UBS has prompted some other foreign banks to drop U.S. clients they once welcomed, tax experts said Monday.

Eager to avoid a similar struggle with federal prosecutors, banks including Credit Suisse and HSBC in recent weeks have notified American clients they must close their offshore accounts or transfer them to the institutions’ U.S.-based operations, where tax reporting requirements are far stricter.

“Overall, the international banking community, and particularly the offshore banking community, has been very friendly to American account holders,” said William Sharp, a tax law specialist at the Sharp Kemm law firm in Tampa. “That changed in the past couple of months as a result of the UBS case.”

The owner of an HSBC account in Jersey, one of the English Channel islands, recently received a 45-day notice to close the account, said Robert McKenzie, a tax law specialist at Arnstein & Lehr in Chicago. A client with an offshore Credit Suisse account got a similar notice, he said.

Some foreign banks elsewhere now avoid offshore business with Americans because they know the Justice Department plans “to extend this effort to other jurisdictions beyond Switzerland,” said Martin Press, a tax expert at Gunster Yoakley Valdes-Fauli & Stewart in Fort Lauderdale.

It was a smart move. Overseas banks do not vote and do not lobby in Congress.   US banks of course do not mind the competition getting kicked.

A few writers, (ourselves included) have been sounding the warning… in our case for decades.

Yet we are small potatoes and this never reached the majority of the public awareness.

The freedom to bank abroad has never been removed. Conditions have just been set so overseas banks cannot serve Americans.

Clever.  This leaves US investors with fewer ways to protect against inflation created by irresponsible spending.

The loss of bank privacy is not as bad as the loss of being able to use competent international banks.

Fortunately some banks like Jyske Bank (the Danish bank I have worked with for decades) has taken the time and considerable expense to qualify to serve US customers and actively accept them.

One way to overcome this problem is move.  Live and/or retire outside the US. Retire in Ecuador or somewhere you enjoy… as many Germans who saw what was coming did before the Nazis took total control.

This is one reason why so many Americans are moving abroad. See more at America Moving Abroad.

Gary

Join us at our North Carolina farm this July or October for our International business & investing seminars below. Learn more about early retirement and Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

See the entire article Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2009-07-12-ubs-secrecy-case_N.htm

Ecuador Wills


Ecuador wills do not work if challenged.

We’ll look at some important information about Ecuador wills and Ecuador’s legal system in a moment.

Plus see below how asset protection benefits in the LLC you use may have changed.

Here is a group of indigenous farmers that our foundation Land of the Sun (LOTS) is helping.  They created a mingo (working circle) to clean out their water system that feeds a school that LOTS is helping to renovate.  Merri and I and some friends visited to check on their progress.

Ecuador-wills

Everyone works, men…

Ecuador-wills

women…

Ecuador-wills

young…

Ecuador-wills

and old.

Ecuador-wills

Well… not everyone works.

Ecuador-wills

But everyone gets involved in helping. Here is our hotel manager Franklin Sandoval conferring with the head of the village.

Ecuador-wills

I mentioned our foundation here  because it helps us gained fulfillment in our business, plus creates tax and asset protection benefits plus is part of our estate planning to make sure that the people of Ecuador are helped even after we pass.

Making sure that your assets held abroad are protected and properly conveyed in your estate requires extra planning.

Yet many Ecuador Living subscribers have been buying real estate or are moving to Ecuador without giving thought to the added complexity in their estate plans and other legal requirements.

I strongly suggest that you review you entire estate with both a local and Ecuadorian attorney. Here are some excerpts from an Ecuador Living report on why.

The Western world operates on two systems of law, the civil law of ancient Rome, and the common law of England.  These two systems have a lot in common, yet in many important areas they differ.

These differences can create legal conflicts in contracts, wills, trusts, parental rights and even residency.

The passing of wealth to heirs for example is one area that differs.

Few people coming from North America (which operates under a British common Law system), understand that US, Canadian or Ecuador wills do not work in Ecuador if challenged.

Many legal systems have evolved from The Roman civil code.  The Napoleonic Code is the French version, established under Napoléon I in 1804.  The Napoleonic code was not the first legal code to be established in a European country with a civil legal system though. The Codex Maximilianeus bavaricus civilis was reated in Bavaria arund 1756).  The Allgemeines Landrecht formed in Prussia, around 1794.  The West Galician Code,  began in part of Austria around 1797.

Many of the civil codes in Latin America are based on an original work derived from the French code and Castillan law.  Chile was the first to accept this type of legal system in 1855.  Ecuador followed in 1858.  El Salvador,  Venezuela,  Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia and Panama are other countries with a legal system based on this foundation.

In this Ecuador legal system, the will is called the testament and allows the testor to direct the disposal, in whole or in part, of their property, upon death.   The testor retains the right to revoke the provisions in the testament anytime during his or her life.

However there is a difference in common and civil law as to what is a person’s property is.   In most civil codes, the wife automatically owns half of all property unless otherwise  stipulated in a formal way. The children own the other half.  Period. A will cannot supersede this fact.

If a person’s will leaves all of his or her property to his or her spouse, the will works fine UNLESS the children contest the will. If they do the testament will not be valid.

This can create complications in simple circumstances.  If the circumstances become complicated… for example children from two or more marriages… then problems could mount.  There is even a concern in my mind that a surviving spouse could lose investor residency status if the inheritance falls below required minimums.    A spouse could lose residency and a house!

In a common law country a person can write a will on a scrap of paper, throw it in a drawer (not advised) and that may be enough.  Though it also might not.  In a civil code jurisdiction such a will definitely will not work!

So if you create a will in Ecuador and then write another later… be sure to make the change official. Otherwise the new will may not work.

In a common law legal system wills do not have to be recorded and often the act of writing a new will allows the new document to supersede the old.

Ecuador’s Act reforming the Civil Code, of August 17, 1989 updated a number of areas relating to  covers relationships between a children and their parents, marriage, divorce, the status of wives, marital property and marital agreements.

Having an attorney to help you with estate planning in every country where you hold property makes sense…  especially if  two of the countries have different legal systems.

The US attorney we use is our friend (and trustee of LOTS) Joe Cox.

Joe’s firms specializes in cross border tax and estate planning, asset protection and real estate.

He provides an incredible system called The Strategic Snapshot which is an easy to use, color coded visualization of a person’s structures, corporate entities, estate plan and assets. We use the snap shot and have found it incredibly useful in seeing how everything from a legal point of view should fit.

You can ask Joe about the Strategic Snapshot at  jcox@coxnici.com.

Joe’s law firm also provides an excellent estate planning newsletter that I read regularly.

A recent letter at his archive shows how and says:

Conversion to Manager-Managed LLC Format

Many individuals concerned with asset protection have formed a Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) in an effort to protect their assets. In fact, most people do not know that Florida was the second state in the United States to draft LLC legislation (dating back to 1982). Most LLCs we see in our daily practice have been formed as member-managed LLCs, that is, when the members (i.e., owners) of the LLC control and manage the LLC as well. However, due to recent changes in the law regarding LLCs, we are now recommending that any Member-Managed LLC be converted into a Manager-Managed LLC format.

The intent of this recommendation is to increase the creditor protection of the LLC should the Member be involved in a lawsuit.

For example; under a Member-Managed LLC, if a creditor of the Member is able to obtain the LLC membership units (by court order, for example), the creditor could obtain management rights and make decisions for the LLC. At least one recent court ruling (from Colorado) makes this result a possibility. However, under a Manager-Managed LLC format, the Manager retains control of the management of the assets held by the LLC even if someone else “controlled” the LLC membership units.

In a Manager-Managed LLC, an elected Manager (pursuant to the Operating Agreement) manages the LLC. Note, that an existing member can act as the initial Manager of the LLC, and an independent Manager can be elected at a later time, if desired. Under a Manager-Managed LLC format, if a member was successfully sued, and the creditor obtained the member’s LLC membership units, the Manager could withhold distributions from all Members and the creditor would receive nothing. This result could deter a potential creditor from filing an unjustified or otherwise frivolous claim.


Plus Joe’s website offers an easy to use internet questionaire. See Questionaire.

We live in a complicated world often made more frustrating by the legal system.  Legal systems are problematic enough when one lives and resides in one country.   Difficulties can compound when living and or holding assets in two countries or more… especially if both legal systems…common and civil become involved.  So get an attorney and get advice so you, your spouse and your heirs never find your results uncivil.

The text above is an excerpt from a more complete report sent to Ecuador Living subscribers that describes Ecuador legal system, how to create wills there and provides legal contacts in the US, Canada and Ecuador that can help.

Learn how to subscribe here.

Regards,

Gary

Join us in Ecuador at a 2009 course or tour.

Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour May 16-17. $499 Enroll here.   $749 For a couple.

Imbabura-Cotacachi Real Estate Tour May 20-21.  $499 Enroll here.  $749 For a couple.

Ecuador Amazon Herbal Tour May 22-24.  $399 Enroll here. $499 For a couple.

Take Two for One. Attend any of the three international business & investing courses below and select any one of the tours above free.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

Sign up for our three May 2009 tours and attend any of the IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web seminar above FREE.

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Learn about our July 2009 Ecuador export tour 2-4-1 deal here.

See our full 2009 schedule here.

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Ecuador Kindness


Ecuadorian people are kind.

An example of Ecuadorian kindness is Dr Andres Cordova. Andres is our friend and attorney. He is the grandson of one of Ecuador’s more famous presidents. He is a senior partner in a law firm that represents Ecuador’s treasury.

Yet to me he is an example of how Ecuadorians are willing to help others in so many ways.

For example, we warn our delegates and readers to stay away from the Mariscal Sucre area in Quito. This is a very touristy area that many of the tour agents promote. This area is loaded with very clever pickpocket type thieves.

Regretfully some delegates do not mind our warnings, as was the case when a delegate from our course, on his way back to the US, visited this area. His carry on bag was stolen (in a tricky but non aggressive way). He lost everything, passport, wallet, car keys, credit card, driver’s license, computer. He was stranded with $3 left in his pocket.

Fortunately he called us in Cotacachi. I called Andres who immediately left his Sunday afternoon lunch and within the hour had picked up our delegate, given him $200 cash and sent him back to us in Cotacachi. (The US Embassy would not help the delegate until Monday.)

This is not the first time Andres has gone out of his way to pull a delegate’s irons out of a fire. A few years ago, a delegate arrived for our Import-Export Expedition. The delegate had journeyed to Peru first and purchased many huge bags of goods to take back to the US . Naturally Ecuadorian customs wanted to tax them. Though it was nearly midnight, one call to Andres got him working and he immediately sorted the problem out.

Now Andres has done it again. A reader just sent me this note.

Wanted you to know that Andres handled the closing on my place and would not charge anything…Nada, 0..Maybe that was his way to make up for his sometimes slow response time…..In any event that is impressive..Hope you are well. We will be in Argentina most of November, then to Nicaragua and Panama in January…One of my sons in selling property in Panama ..Cheers,.Ed

Andres continuing help and goodwill to our readers is one reason I wholeheartedly recommend his Ecuador real estate projects in Mindo. I am not involved financially in any way but delight in putting good people (my readers) together with good people (Andres and his real estate team).

ARBORETTO has been “adopted” by a very driven and enthusiastic group of young professionals wanting to make it a showcase of their sensibility, creativity, environmental dedication and passion.

Here is a shot of the first house going up there.

Ecuador-project

Andres just sent me this note.

“ARBORETTO advances on its way to becoming the best project of its kind in Ecuador (please pardon our boasting) and a statement for creativity, sensible practices and forward-looking investing. We want to share with your readers the Arboretto website that has a wealth of information. There is also a picture gallery that is a testament to the beauty of the area.

A river runs through it.

Ecuador-Project

All lots in Arboretto are truly special, enjoying spectacular views and lush natural surroundings and 17 have been sold or reserved so far.

We believe Arboretto is a project that is just right for the times. It offers new horizons, real value, appreciation potential, rental income possibilities and feel-good all the way.

The plants, flowers and bird life are incredible in Mindo.

Ecuador-project

Click here to visit the Arboretto Master Plan and website.

Andres has also promised to give our course delegates special prices and conditions in ARBORETTO.

He wrote: “Prices are a very good value we understand that some people need to see some more ground-work to understand the scope of the potential at hand.

The current price for a homesite in ARBORETTO is $64,950.

We will provide your delegates a $3,000 discount per lot and a $3,000 credit towards the construction of their villa in ARBORETTO, provided they begin construction in the 12 months following the visit.

The first house in ARBORETTO will be finished in three months and the second house begins construction in three weeks. More houses follow.

Warmest regards, Andrés.”

Andres has organized a special luncheon trip to Mindo after our courses below for those who would like to see the ARBORETTO project. The drive from Quito down to Mindo is a treat in itself. Don’t miss the waterfalls, best birding anywhere, the butterflies and just Mother Nature. For details, please contact Dr. Andres Cordova at andresfcordova@gmail.com

Until next message, may all the people you know be kind.

Gary

The first ice appeared on our North Carolina pond last week. Brrrr!

instead of hiking in the ice and cold…

Ecuador-Project

Ma and I would rather hike here…in the sun…overlooking Cotacachi!

Ecuador-Project

Join us at a course in Cotacachi this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

We’ll visit the Otavalo markets.

Ecuador-Project

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Cotacachi-meeting

Courses are centered around this open air courtyard in our colonial inn El Meson de las Flores.

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

You are also invited to tag along to the beach where we visit all types of Ecuador beach property for sale. Here is one f our previous tours enjoying a visit to Vistazul condos.

Ecuador-Project

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

Ecuador Interesting


Ecuador is interesting but what is below is more interesting than most messages about Ecuador. You will see why below.

You may have read in the news about the problems of Ecuador in recent days and wondered why I am investing in Ecuador. One of our goals is to help our readers get Ecuador news beneath the news.  The problem today with popular media is that it has to cater to the lowest links for the sake of volume. Sex, scandal, death and destruction sell and in the mad scramble to fill every issue with as much attention grabbing horror as possible, most media make over small bits of the most horrifying events of the day and little more.

Our goal is to dig deeper. In this case I turned to several Ecuadorian friends for their views. One is a powerful Guayaquil businessman connected at the highest political levels. The second is an attorney from Quito. I chose these two because one problem in Ecuador is the continual struggle between the populations in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil. As one Guayaquileno once put it, we make the money here in Guayaquil and they (the politicians) spend it in Quito. The cities have existed for centuries in a state of mutual distrust.

The third is a foreign businessman who has lived in Ecuador for many years and has a very successful business, the fourth an indigenous leader.

The first reply is from my friend from Guayaquil. For reasons that will be obvious he remains unnamed. He is connected at the highest levels of business and government in Ecuador.

My friend writes:

“Ecuador is still under the spell of gloom that befell about two years ago. I saw it one year before that, but I did not know what to do about it, and I did not want to believe it either.

“Now the opposite has happened. There is a small light showing at the end of the tunnel. It is small, but steady. God bless it. We must not talk about it – too much. It is called Manta.
“Manta did not exist in colonial times. The pirates and sea robbers made it unthinkable to have a port facing the ocean. The nearest port had to be thirty miles in, at least.

“I was in Manta, I had not been there for ten years at least, it has improved a lot in that time. There is so much that can be done. Manta is like a little baby. In Manta, the help can come in little ways, totally invisible to the public that is not “in”. Hospital, schools, Univ., urban development, you name it.  As I said, all this is very small right now, but it is moving ahead in the right direction.

“This is all very complicated, I hope it works for the best. Unfortunately, it brings us close to our President, and that is not what we want, we want to keep him away.

“There has been an Indian rising. They have gained attention but unfortunately they do not have a plan, or people, or anything. It was just a rising of “down with everything”. Down with the President. Down with Congress. Down with the Judicial. This is a typical rising of communal soul formation, or soul development, it is basically downs versus ups.

“They are however much better organized and have clearer objectives, and words than they had, say fifteen years ago. Of course they still need another time to be at par as an ethnic group. It will come if you give them time, fortunately.

“The unfortunate part is that it is all taking place at a moment when their negativity can cause a lot of damage, they also say down with dollarization.

“The new President? He is my personal friend, a great guy, but not the right man for the crisis, as he is too flat footed. Everything the previous man has done is wrong.”

Another Viewpoint

The second insight on Ecuador was sent from Dr. Andres Cordova. Dr. Corova is the grandson of Ecaudor’s past President and his law firm provides legal counsel for many financial institutions. The firm works with foreign banks established in Ecuador and otherwise and is legal counsel for the Central Bank of Ecuador, the Superintendency of Banks.

Some of the members of the firm have participated in the making of some of Ecuador’s monetary and banking decisions and one of the senior partners has been Superintendent of Banks on two occasions.

Though the firm acts as counselors to many of Ecuador’s finance and banking entities, they advise on specific areas, upon request, and do not represent, in any way, the institution’s position on different subjects so they can offer us an unbiased view.

The firm has information and views from inside Ecuador’s finance and banking fields and great contacts so they can prepare reports, furnish helpful information, and answer inquiries promptly for any member who wishes to retain them for any specific project.

Dr. Cordova writes:

“We had quite a recent scare. During the past several months the people of Ecuador had become increasingly infuriated with the President’s conduct of governmental affairs.

“We had a situation where very little support was given either to President or to this military insurrects. A Constitutional solution had to be applied.

“As much as I believe the president to be corrupt and incompetent, I was deeply angered and saddened by the whole situation.

“The bottom line is that there was some sort of democratic solution to the crisis. The Country is calming down. There is this bitter feeling about the whole situation, but who knows, maybe it was for the best.

“What is going to happen? Well, first of all, most of the country sees this outcome as the proper one, given the circumstances. This is a good thing, for it somehow reestablishes the faith and tranquility we all need. Also, it brings stability, for all major players in this social and economic machinery are in favor of the outcome.

“The international community, represented by the different States, has manifested its approval of this Constitutional solution to the crisis, and is currently supporting Ecuador (at least rhetorically) in its struggle to shape up.

“The new President is regarded to be a good, honest man. He has changed most of the different Ministers and Secretaries of the Government and it is likely we are somehow facing a fresh start. Maybe it’s a little bit of wishful thinking on my part.

“These past days we have seen a very good attitude in most of the industrial sector. The have committed to lower some prices and to raise the wages. Somehow a feeling of responsibility and that we are all part of the solution is surfacing. I sure hope so.

“The crisis is very deep and we still have some rough years ahead. I would want to believe that we have nowhere else to go from here but up.

“I think after this episode the Country is going to try and move forward with more enthusiasm and drive. The new President is going to be in power for the next three years. This will help stabilize the country, for no one will be speculating on the elections, as if they were to be held in a few weeks or month’s time.

“This new President may do a much better job than the last one. Most of all because he does not come into power all tainted by strings-attached political supports and contributions that he needs to pay back. He can freely conduct the government without having to pay back all sorts of favors. Also, he is apparently an honest man.

“The Country is well aware of this and there is some sense of peace after all. It is still too early to tell how all of this will affect the country in the following months or even years, but it is safe to say that Ecuador still offers good and safe investment opportunities, provided they are well reviewed and screened.

“I understand many foreign investors may view Ecuador as an anarchic country which is falling apart by the day, where their investments are in no way safe. This is not true.

“In this crisis, many good investment opportunities exist. Real estate, for example, offers very nice investment opportunities. This kind of investments are, of course, better on the mid to long term.

“When the better times arrive, hopefully some two to three years from now, and then on and on. As exports grow and the economy improves, the new flows of cash and the economic recovery and good health will make it more difficult to find good deals on certain areas.

This may be a signal to buy now.” Andres

The Third Viewpoint

The third reply is from my friend, the European businessman who has lived in Ecuador full time for the last six years and has many business interests and real estate holdings:

“The last president seemed to be a better man but he had done too many dirty deals with the political and specially the financial sector to be trustworthy.  The current president seems to be a very honest man with no such connections and that may be what the country need now. 80% of the people still want to dissolve the congress, mainly because of the corruption.

“I do however believe that the president will face huge demonstrations again this summer when they will have to increase the prices of gas, propane, electricity, etc. The country is said to spend US$ 700 million on subsidies this year if they do not increase the prices. This country may be impossible to run.

The final rely may be the most important of all as it is the Indiginistas that (quite rightly) have been making the fuss.
“I appreciate dear friend that the international news are very alarming; but the reality is very different since here in Ecuador everything follows with tranquillity and in the direction of the improvement of abundance and peace.”

This is why I have already started taking investors to Manta, Ecuador, a major seaport (350,000 pop.). The flood of Americans will make the town boom. Timing to make money could not be better. Check www.garyascott.com for more details.

There you have it…an article that seems to explain why Ecuador makes sense as a place to invest.

So Ecuador is interesting.  Here is why this article is more interesting than most messages about Ecuador.   This article was written April 15, 2000, over eight years ago.  You can see the original message in our archives at http://www.garyascott.com/2000/04/15/1266.html

The daily news is sensational and incites worry.  Those who look beyond it have a definite investing edge. Had I let worries reported in the news stop me from seeing the true fundamentals of Ecuador’s potential a decade ago, I and hundreds of my readers would have missed fortunes.

Ecuador still offers good opportunity now.

See why Manta makes sense now

Until next message may your news be positive, true and good.

Gary

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