Tag Archive | "President"

International Investment Opportunity in Turmoil


There is international investment opportunity in turmoil.

Everything in Ecuador was back to normal by last Saturday.

Shall we score one for El Presidente… or…

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not?   Here is a photo I was able to take of President Correa.  He is a great politician so I (and plenty of others)… were able to get close.

Was last Friday’s flareup just Correa  (see below that many believe so) or something deeper and real?

At the end of my comments are

On July 13, 2010 I wrote in a message entitled Ecuador Political Tension “I predict that the remainder of the summer will be hot and tense for Correa.”

Was I ever proven correct when Ecuadorian turmoil went beyond hot and boiled over last Friday!

Though our note to readers about the Ecuador police strike was among the first sent to the west, my thinking was… “There is a silver lining”.

google-rank

Last Friday, our story on Ecuador’s unrest was ranked third at Google right behind Reuters and NPR.

I have been a risk taking investor for many years and have learned that once in awhile when things get hot, fingers get burned… but overall when events heat up, so to does opportunity.

There is profit to be made in turmoil and disaster.

How?

First, recognize the difference between turmoil and disaster.

The earthquake in Haiti was a disaster. Yet this will be an opportunity for some. Contractors who rebuild will profit. Employment will pick up.  New political systems will form.   All of this creates long term opportunity for a few.

Turmoil is far different. Turmoil is an event with little real impact that most investors treat as disaster. Such turmoil can create short term opportunity for the many who are willing to accept risk.

There are several areas of turmoil where I see opportunity now. Ecuador is one. See more below.

First…. Ecuador.  When Merri and I first arrived in Ecuador in 1996, I saw that the country had started to boom along with the rest of Latin America.

Then a war (more like a prolonged argument with a bit of battle) between Ecuador and Peru and various other problems (droughts… electricity shortages) devastated Ecuador’s economy.

I felt the country was fundamentally sound and would pull through its problems so bought shares in the cement company and two of the largest banks (Pacifico and Previsora), plus put money on deposit (in US dollars paying 10% in the most profitable bank in the country (Progresso).

I was right. The market did boom and in the next 18 months prices almost doubled. At this stage I sold (and recommended that readers do the same) half my shares and pulled the original capital out of the country.

This is one of a good risk management systems… Pull back capital once profits are doubled in high risk deals. From that point on, whatever happens I have only my profits at risk. The downside to this system is that it dramatically reduces profits on the really big winners. Less conservative risk takers will let their capital and profits roll. Others will even increase their positions (something I rarely do).

In the case of Ecuador my risk management really paid off. Everything that could go wrong, did.

First, the country made such a disastrous choice in electing their President.  Abdala Bucaram (called El Loco – The Crazy One)  lasted as president only from 10 August 1996 to 6 February 1997.

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The country had to impeach him.  The new temporary President was also bad.

Finally,  a really good man was voted in to run the country but were hit by a series of natural disasters. El Nino and La Nina flooded the country for two years, ruined roads, washed away bridges and destroyed crops. An earthquake rocked the coast and trade was hurt by the European banana (Ecuador’s biggest crop) war and the shrimp crop (Ecuador’s second biggest export) was infected with white spot. Banks started to collapse.

Then two of the country’s volcanos (which had not erupted in almost 600 years) started erupting and covered the capital of Quito with ash, shut the airport down and again created all types of havoc in general. The fourth largest city (Ambato) was evacuated and one of the largest spas (Banos) has been shut down.

My deposit (with Progresso) was frozen for a year, then the bank went bust and was taken over by the government. This led to a series of other bank collapses and now both the shares of Pacifico and Previsora plummeted to almost nothing. The government also defaulted on its Brady Bond obligations which squeezed the country even more. In short all the investments in banks went to zero.

The bank account was frozen over a year before we were paid back 60% of the deposit via a Ecuador government guarantee.

So a lot of the extra profits I made were given back. With my risk management system at least my capital was still at work and we  began buying Ecuador real estate in 2000 when there was the worst chaos and turmoil in Ecuador.

Property could be bought at 10 cents on the dollar and we continued to accumulate Ecuador real estate Then prices rose so high in Ecuador that I began taking profits as and buying real estate in Florida where there had been a horrible crash.

In Florida there was (and still is) turmoil and disaster.

Now with this acceleration of Ecuador political tension, I am looking for Ecuador real estate again as well.

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Indigenous gathering for…

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Correa’s election campaign in…

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2009.

ecuador-politics .

Merri and I believe in adapting… turning lemons into lemonade.

Our experience suggests that these ongoing political machinations will have little impact on most gringos in Ecuador…

When Merri and I first visited Ecuador almost 15 years ago and watched the 1996 election when Abdala Bucaram used indigenous support to become president.  In less than six months,when he lost the support of the indigenous, he was removed from office.

Since that time we have watched a series of presidents, come and go.

In May 1997, Interim President Fabián Alarcón, came and went and a National Assembly wrote a new Constitution.  On the same day Ecuador’s new constitution began Jamil Mahuad assumed the presidency.

Mahuad, lasted only till January 2000 when the Ecuadorian National Congress, with the support of indigenous organizations, replaced him with Gustavo Noboa Bejarano, Mahuad’s vice-president. In 2002 Lúcio Gutiérrez, a former army Colonel who had a hand in kicking out Mahuad, with the support of indigenous organizations, was elected.

In April, 2005, Gutiérrez, due in part to his loss of support of indigenous organizations, was removed from the presidency.  Dr. Alfredo Palacios, who completed Gutiérrez’ term until Rafael Correa, with the support of indigenous organizations, was elected president.

None of this political upheaval affected our lives or those of any expats that I know of.

There have been a few days of inconvenience due to roads being closed… but we have easily adapted to this.  Overall Ecuador politics are non events for the gringos in Ecuador…  unless they let the process upset them.

Plus just like life in Canada and the USA or wherever you live… we adapt as events unfold.  There is plenty about US politics… big business…. government…. that I do not like.  Yet little I can do but adapt.

Spotting strong economic trends in investing… in business…. in life go well  beyond our logic.

This is why a major theme in our investing and business courses is, “There are always things we cannot know”.

This is why this quote is framed and sits on my desk… “Action is thy Duty… Reward not thy Concern”.

This is why we recommend  to make sure that  “the search to serve” is involved in every investment and business decision.

This is because the use of logic should only be a small part of our decision making process.

“Intentions”… at their deepest levels are as… or even more important…. than logic.

All our decisions… our businesses and investments are also impacted by the footprints of all those who have previously passed.

When we step out with a genuine intention to serve… combined with our intuition, experience and logic… the decision making process combined with the laws of nature maximize the chances for a positive outcome.

Tension in Ecuador politics may remain for now.  However Ecuador’s indigenous live by the code… AMA KILLA, AMA LLULLA, AMA SHUA, (Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t be lazy). That is a great foundation for peaceful living.

I do not see how this Ecuador political tension will impact expats living in Ecuador… especially those who have learned to integrate and serve the community in some or in many ways.

There are several reason why this tension in Ecuador could be profitable.

Ecuador’s tension is low compared to elsewhere.  This photo of last week’s riot is not in Ecuador but is in…

spanish-riots

Spain. Photo from Guardian Madrid, Spain: Demonstrators try to prevent buses leaving the Madrid transport bus company car park (linked at bottom this message)

An excerpt from last week’s USA Today article by David Lynch says:  Protests over austerity moves swept Europe’s major capitals Wednesday, as the fallout from chronic debt concerns spread from trading desks to the streets.

The European crisis once centered upon Greece has landed in Ireland, where the government today is expected to announce a new infusion of aid for Anglo Irish Bank, the lender at the center of its costly credit bubble.

“We’re at potentially a crossroads,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy for Brown Bros. Harriman in New York, who worries that markets could next turn on Spain or even Belgium.
Moody’s is expected as soon as today to downgrade Spain’s Aaa credit rating by at least one notch.
Ireland last year won investor raves for enacting savage budgets, including double-digit cuts in government workers’ pensions. But the ever-increasing cost of repairing its ruined banks is swamping efforts to control public spending.

“Ireland is the only country in Europe that had a complete collapse of its housing market and a complete collapse of its banking system,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that they’re in deeper trouble than elsewhere.”

A Guardian article “European strikes and protests” says:  Strikes and demonstrations take place across Europe against austerity measures aimed at tackling state budget deficits.

“Europe Hit by Widespread Strikes” Voice of America News says:  Strikes took place across Europe Wednesday in protest against government austerity measures. Unions say over 20 million jobs have been lost across Europe since the economic downturn began.

Workers from across Europe took to the streets of Brussels on Wednesday in protest against European austerity measures.  Police say most of the protesters marched on the headquarters of the European Union.

Union leaders hoped up to 100,000 people from 30 different countries would join the protest.

Belgium wasn’t the only European country hit by protests Wednesday.

In Spain, unions, representing hundreds of thousands of workers, launched the country’s first general strike in eight years.

Some strikers reportedly scuffled with police and bags of garbage were left uncollected on the streets; protesters stopped trucks from delivering basic groceries and airlines were forced to cancel some flights.

Elsewhere in Europe, Greek transport workers and hospital doctors walked off the job.

General Secretary of the Greek General Confederation of Labor Vangelis Bouzoulas said the people of Europe are protesting against high prices and increased unemployment. He said they are asking for better times and more work.

Protests also took place Wednesday in a number of other European countries, including Poland, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy.

Strikes are only one part of the risk picture. Sunday’s New York Times News Alert says:

U.S. Issues Terrorism Alert for Travel to Europe.  The State Department issued an alert on Sunday urging Americans traveling to Europe to be vigilant about possible terrorist attacks.

The decision to caution travelers comes as counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States are assessing intelligence about possible plots originating in Pakistan and North Africa aimed at Britain, France and Germany.

So what does one do?

There are ways to protect against and gain from turmoil. 

Gary

Unedited comments from readers in Ecuador

American Mother Raising a family in  in Cuenca

Thanks for this info…geez, you are better than the US Consulate Wardens…advising us of what’s going on…I guess they just wait for emergency situations to provide assistance in evacuations!  Appreciate your information, Gary!  Here in Cuenca, there seems to be an alert for commercial centers to be careful of theft, since there was no security and I also here that schools will be suspended, FYI.  Saludos from Cuenca!

Ecuadorian Attorney from Manta

I saw your reports about Ecuador. We are so lucky to have someone like you writing about Ecuador.
Regarding what happen with Correa besides any political analysis Ecuador once again has demonstrated that has this ability to come back to normal life in one day, by Friday everything was the same.

I have seen several emails from foreign people living all over Ecuador that has support the country and they have comment that more or less is been very quiet and pacific in their places.

Ecuadorian Businessman

Well I hope nothing happens to President Correa. He has been the only president in Ecuador who has done  something to stop la corrupcion y por eso esque estan en huelga la policia nacional del ecuador es la mas corrupta q puede haber.. pero que correa sepa q el pueblo esta con el “dale correa dale.. estamos contigo.

American Living in Cuenca

Hi Gary:

I am in Quito at the moment and most of the people gathered at the palace seem to be supporters of Correa and so far the military continues to support him as well. Unfortunately many people are taking advantage of the chaos and there is looting going on. Leanna tells me that the police in Cuenca are still working so it’s almost business as usual there.

The head of the bus and taxi syndicate is also being opportunistic by threatening to strike unless Correa raises fares.

Most of the main roads in Quito are blocked although buses are still running where they can get through.

Ecuadorian Businessman

More news.

The President had the brilliant idea of be defiant and “trash” the police, when the police actually is in charge of his security. So after he talked to them he had to leave and was hit and his personal safety was in danger. He managed to escape and now is at the same police hospital being treated (but he is fine). The police surrounds the hospital and he is not allowed to leave.

Now we are waiting for the law to be repealed and for everything to be normal. What makes things volatile is that the military is in charge now and the police has no power, which means that some friction could occur.

I personally feel that this is Correa’s fault, for two reasons:

1- He thinks he can run the country without caring of what the rest thinks. The Asamblea sends a law, he says in public he doesn’t care about it, veto the law, and the law passes enraging the population. Now no one cares to negotiate because they believe that in the end he will do whatever he wants regarding the agreement reached.
2- He goes and threatens the police and insults them and tells them that they must obey and he won’t negotiate with them. You may be really dumb to think that is the way to negotiate. Now the population is divided, the country makes headlines again for being a “mess” and our negotiation to renew the ATPDA with the american congress look not good.

Banks are closed, the airport is closed, streets are closed and the president was disrespected, this will cause that the other major laws that passed will face the same opposition and he may not have leverage to pass any other measure that he wants.

) to finance the deficit, that is illegal, so we have been suffering from a government that is on the wrong path. BUT we shouldn’t overthrown a government elected by the people, even when it is failing to comply to the very laws that it redacts.

WE ARE ONLY watching news from the GOVERNMENT, all channels are transmitting from the official TV station. We can’t watch our own information, SHAME on you.

Correa should be respected and he must be our president until his period ends, but THIS type of violence over our right to be informed by independent news organizations doesn’t help his cause.

LET’S hope that we end up learning something from this, let’s hope that the outcome is what we need from a democracy.

Developer in Vilcabamba

Hi Gary,

Always good to hear from you.

Here’s my take on what happened.

A number of mistakes were made that resulted in the chaos.

1. The police initiated a protest that was likely politically motivated and organized by former president Lucio Gutierrez and his supporters. This was the cause (not the new laws that affect police pay which could be negotiated).

2. Correa went into the streets (probably a mistake) to talk with the police demonstrators.

3. The police lobbed tear gas and injured the president (big mistake). At that point the protest transitioned from a typical Ecuadorian protest to one of far greater scale and intensity.

4. Correa ended up in a hospital which (unfortunately) was the police hospital.

5. The military charged the hospital to rescue Correa.

The upside is that the people rallied around the president and the concept of Democracy (versus mob rule). I think things are pretty much back to normal now albeit there are clean-up issues. This is in stark contrast to the situation in Honduras that went on for a long time.

Those responsible for this uprising will likely be brought to trial and punished severely. They deserve that.

This was a test for Ecuador. Presidents have been overthrown here with relative ease in the past. Not this time. It may be interpreted, ironically, as a sign of growing stability. That would be a good thing for the country and its future.

Coastal Hotel Owner

Gary, The general opinion is that this is very sad..but that the democracy may be strengthened due to the fact that the army stood behind the president..Let´s see what happens next..never a dull moment in a country like Ecuador..

Single woman living in Cotacachi

Hi everybody:  The attached news article was sent to me from my sister in Canada.  Yes, there is some violence going on especially in Quito and Guyaquil due to the President, in an effort to balance the budget, denied the police a raise and bonus.

Some friends and I went to Ibarra yesterday morning, unaware of anything going on, to Super Maxi to do our shopping for the weekend.  Our cab driver explained that there were no police working; hence, the banks were all closed.  We left Super Maxi with our groceries, and later learned that it was closed shortly thereafter.  Also we were stopped on the road by military police, but it was uneventful.  This morning, I heard loudspeakers about 6:00 am and apparently all the schools were closed for the day.  Myra, my cleaning girl, explained that her two daughters were not allowed to go to school today.

However, little Cotacachi is doing just fine; the bank was closed yesterday but I was able to do a withdrawal.  When I go to town today, I will carry just a little money, just in case, but really I feel perfectly safe.  I would not, however, attempt to go to Otavalo or Iberra as there are roadblocks.

How do you like a President who stands behind his word and says, Kill me if you want to!

Believe me, Cotacachi is a very, very safe town and nothing is happening here.

Today is a lovely, sunny day; no doubt, it will reach the high 70’s.  We are all just fine, not to worry.

Ecuadorian Tour Guide
Sir Gary,

My very personal comment about the events of yesterday. Began very early in the morning, were some more police troops, who were demonstrating their incomformidad to the approval of the law passed by the National Assembly, then more police were joining his incomformidad that they want to take away their privileges, which is not so, it is better they have obtained better wages.
I think it was insubordination of the troops and misinformation of the law, since they knew nothing about the act.

The chaos was increased when the President was to speak in St. peace with the cops, but they were very upset and started lagrimogenas pump problems, which affected the President came out and his companions.

The problem of all this led to national chaos, began the rampage, and had no control of anything, and that caused by the Police.

I wonder where was the gift of command of superiors? Since they may have comversations with the Minister of Interior Security, and then with the same President of the Republic, but did not, they wanted to make their own way and who achieved a emfrentamiento sibling of the same country. I expect this attitude of the National Police, and we as citizens, we are too wounded in our hearts to see how they acted the day yesterday, I hope the reflection both of the Politicians, Governments, Armed Forces and National Police, to this town always be at peace and to continue making the right decisions on welfare.

But do you really had a coup in Ecuador? I suppose not, that to speak of a coup should have been, at least, the clear attempt to overthrow President to replace him by someone. And in the case on all day yesterday that there was a deplorable and unjustifiable act of insubordination to the police who felt, rightly or wrongly, affected in their rights.

Politician Living in Imbabura

Dear Gary,

The problems are overcome now, I’m pretty sure about that rebellion or Strike whatever you want to named its only a strategy for our President to increase his popularity. Obviously this kind of news affects the good reputation of Ecuador. Please be patience and we will see better news very fast.

If you want or have an specific question about tha problem just let me know and I’ll find more information.

American Living in Salinas

Hi Gary,

I agree with you about the media drama.  Watching live footage last night we saw the “Violent Rescue of President Correa.”  The gunfire sounded pretty impressive until the reporter finally let on that they were firing dummy bullets.  This morning the headline was “Bloody Rescue of President Correa,” although there haven’t been any images of bloodshed to back that up.

It brings to mind hurricane coverage in Florida, when even in cases where the storm (luckily) never came ashore, they always managed to find a shot of a ficus tree that had tipped over on someone’s house to illustrate “the storm damage.”

American Stranded at Quito Airport

Hello to friends and family:

You’ve all read the news about Ecuador in the press.  I’d like to share our experiences here on the ground.

My wife and I were at the Quito airport on Thursday morning, awaiting our AA flight to Miami.  On the television near the gate the local news stations were broadcasting the demonstrations at the Quito Police Headquarters, where there was a strike in progress to protest the denial of salaries and other benefits.  Correa himself drove out to the Police HQ to confront the strikers and to convince them to peaceably go back to work.  (You have to admire his courage for doing that!)  Things quickly got out of hand; speechmaking turned into insults and shoving, then teargas.  Someone produced a gas mask for Correa and escorted him, limping badly due to recent knee operation, into the nearby Police Hospital.  Correa made his way to the nearest window and made his defiant speech, in front of the police force, a dozen television cameras, and the whole nation.

AA then told us that the airport had been completely closed down and that they had “no information” on the next flights out.  Maria Helena and I grabbed taxi back to the hotel where we promptly turned on the TV and stayed glued to it for the better part of the day.  Meantime the whole city shut down.  Stores and shops closed, banks closed, no traffic anywhere except at the Plaza Grande where the crowds were mobilizing to support Correa. It was a real good time and stay indoors and off the streets, especially for foreigners.  The army besieged the hospital and rescued Correa (2 dead, 44 wounded), all broadcast live by some very gutsy TV reporters.  Correa returned to the Presidential Palace where he gave a rousing speech to the faithful.  The whole show was over about 11 PM.

All of the local TV stations are effectively supporters of Correa (the opposition media was shut down a couple of years ago), so they all broadcast the exact same material.  The message was uniformly pro-Correa.  Not a word about the way he has manipulated Congress, the press, and the judges to suit his own agenda.  In the middle of the afternoon the main door of the TV studio was broken down by university students (all broadcast live; the police could hardly start bashing heads).  One young woman grabbed the microphone and spoke for maybe five minutes.  She introduced herself as a law student, and spoke very articulately about the lack of freedom of press and freedom of political dialogue in the country.  Then the network switched over to a live feed from Guayaquil and that was then end of the “dialogue”.  For the rest of the day we heard not one word from the opposition.

The rank and file police had a legitimate complaint about benefits, but this activity was clearly orchestrated by highers-up with a broader agenda and who stayed out of the public view.  About the same time that the strike began (~9 AM), the major bridge in and out of Guayaquil was shut down by the police, all airports were shut down by the air force, the main road to the North was blocked, and the border crossings to Peru and Colombia were closed.  That took a lot of planning and a lot of coordination.  Correa publically blames his predecessor, Lucio Guttierez, for an attempted coup.  Guttierez has said not a word.  A lot of people on the center/right despise Correa and his manipulation of public institutions.  A lot of people on the left, including most workers and farmers, like him for his legitimate attempts to alleviate poverty.

My opinion:  Like him or not, Correa was duly elected via the democratic process, and he should be allowed to finish his constitutional term of office.  Voters still have the vote, and they can throw him out in 2013.  To throw him out now would set this beautiful country back many years in terms of its social and political development.

Cheers to all,

 

Ecuador Businessman in Quito

Police strike, although a serious error by this institution’s troops – highly reproachable -, could probably and should have been resolved through other channels, such as through the country’s Minister of the Interior, who is in charge of the country’s internal security, and the higher police authorities.

It was a mistake for President Correa to try to micromanage the police situation by confronting and taunting the striking police in person.  This caused the troops’ reactions and the unfortunate events that followed and that resulted ultimately in the death of police and military officers.

As you mention, drama sells and as a populist, Correa likes to sell his image.  This was not a coup attempt: the police never demanded Correa’s resignation or his ousting; no opposition politician tried to take advantage of the situation by seizing power.  It was a situation that escalated out of control, and that resulted in the President being held up in a Police Hospital, surrounded by Police troops demanding the reinstatement of the pay benefits that were taken away the night before by the passing of a new public service law.  None of this would have taken place if Correa had stayed at his Presidential Palace and managed the situation through the proper channels.

Regards,

American Living Near Guayaquil

Gary, one other note.  As of this morning they are reporting that unfortunately 13 people have died.  More than half of those as a result of looting in Guayaquil.  It appears that the looting in Guayaquil was in neighborhoods where I don’t feel safe even on a day without political unrest.

Retired American Living in Quito

Living in Quito, Carolina,  life returned to normal the very next morning.  City and National Police were at their posts as usual.  I did see a truck with soldiers on the back drive by, once.  Being an ex-military man, I could tell that they were bored.  For me, it is back to enjoying a wonderful life in Ecuador.

Indigenous shop owner in Cotacachi

Regards Sr. Gary

Believe yesterday was not any drama, provably what you where hearing in the news was not the half that was happend here in the country specially in Quito, in the end there was a big confromtation betewn a police group and the military group with firearms, oficially three persons died in that confrontation

Nobody expects this in their worst dreams was going to happen, Thursday was another normal day and just in a couple of hours was a chaos in all the coutry. I not sure if this like coutry show us good in the way than in few hours it was counteracted a seun coup or show us as very insecure country that in couple hour of nothing all the country was with out any policial secure, Every body say that behind this was the ex president Gutierrez.

The only one who get more admiration and power is Correa.

American Architect Living in Cotacachi

As for the ‘troubles’ yesterday’: I started out the morning went to the bank then took the bus to Ibarra for the echo gram and the Doctors appointment. All was normal. After having the echo gram I went to the Supermaxi mall to wait for the Doctor’s appointment at 4:00 p.m. All seemed pretty normal accepting the stores were closed. I thought it was just the afternoon siesta time. I went to the food court and it seemed odd that most of the vendors were closed except a couple. I had lunch and went down to the lower level cafe to have a Cappuccino. Then I asked the waiter when the stores would open. A man who overheard who spoke English told me that the police were on strike and there was a state of emergency and it would probably be over in a few hours. I sat in the cafe and watched the TV screen there as the head of the Military came on and assured that the country was safe.

All seemed relatively unconcerned.

After my appointment I took a taxi into Ibarra to meet a friend. Most all the shops were closed. Everything was peaceful. My friend and I went to the old traditional heladan  (homemade ice cream) shop (Maria Suarez?) which was open. Again everyone seemed unconcerned.

I was assured that taking a bus was safe, but, the bus terminal was closed, however, the buses were still running. My taxi driver took me to a stop were he said a Cotacachi bus would be arriving. I waited for about 10 minutes for the bus. Everyone was going about their business as normal it seemed. While waiting there I saw a military person with what looked like a police officer in riot gear. It seemed they were on patrol.

Pretty uneventful there anyway it seemed.

Don’t know what’s happening today or exactly the severity of the situation, but, understand a police strike is unprecedented in recent history and the violence.

That’s it from this area. Sure you/Gary are monitoring things closely.

Ecuador Businessman in Quito

Today is a sad day… we saw again how vulnerable our democracy is, how irresponsible our leaders are, how polarized our country feels.

No so many years ago Lucio Gutierrez conspired to be president, few years later he was overthrown by other conspirators and today when we thought peace was finally here, he is been accused of trying to conspire again.

Other leaders are coming out to say “I told you so” screaming that democracy is a precious thing. SHAME on you as stupidity will allow you to distort reality, as people on the streets will believe your lies.

We don’t want more violence, more presidents, more chaos. But we don’t want more lies, more brain washing, more ignorance.

Correa may get away claiming that this was all planned to take him out of power, but that big lie will only cope with the shrinking majority that – blinded by idiocy – could believe whatever he says.
Albeit of the tragic outcome of yesterday’s successes, we now wake up with the feeling of betrayal, a sense that Correa sullied our country with a big sad party that lasted for many hours, while shotguns were shoot just minutes earlier.

We demur at the suggestion that this was an act put together by infected politicians. We all saw how this started, we saw how Correa – defiant of common sense – run like a coward looking for safety, he said before and later that he doesn’t mine dying for a great cause, but we didn’t see that, he run and hide… later protected by elite police at the hospital. How stupid you think we are?
Correa vetoes a law stating the he doesn’t care what the opposition says, sends the law with major changes back to Congress and hopes that it passes without a vote. He has done this on several occasions enraging the country, creating the sense that this is no democracy.

Now he has done it again, as we shudder with repulsion last night, we can’t help to think that we ought to fight too. Things were obviously out of control, but who in its right mind will go to provoke angry policeman?

After he blatantly went to provoke confrontation – when he should have reached for an agreement – an effete Correa tried to jump to the hospital, which is behind the police headquarters, and then after he collapsed and was taken to the emergency room, where he later claimed was taken hostage, the whole country was already in deep distress.
If an obdurate Correa did not go to the police headquarters to attack protesters, would this be considered an attempt to overthrown him?

Correa thought that his character might be a deterrent to the policeman protesting the law. He treated them like idiots, insulted them and left, so the country was besmirched by the violence last night. The president with a surprising lack of security was insulted and hit by this monstrous policeman that – altered by rage – infamously depicted our President.
But this is what happens when duress is thought to be the way to lead. I cling to democracy, respect the elected president and hope that Ecuador keeps being a peaceful place.  But if I respect the law, shouldn’t the president do the same?

This is where things get blur. While the president swoon after he was cowardly attacked by the police, the riot outside was getting bigger and completely out of hand. What we now know was a pratfall by both sides of the equation, is being distorted to look as if it was a well-planned conspiracy against our democratic government.

That is why I feel sad today, the cri de coeur that was once heard at the opposition now must be louder and stronger. I feel that we lost everything yesterday, not only the life of our president was in real danger, but our democracy was destroyed. I do not mean by him taken hostage only, but by the government taking us hostage as well. For many hours the only news that we saw where from the government, meaning that its version of the events where the only ones being shot at our brains.
Correa and his crass political allies kidnapped our liberty, they were victims of their own hatred and despair, now we all pay the price for their mistakes.

Democracy is no cinch; it must be earned at all levels, built and nurtured, but it is not panacea we must accomplish success by other means as well.
What happened yesterday was tragic…pensive…sad. We woke up hurt by the insurgency of our police, the unnecessary rick that our president took and the military intervention to recue him that end up injuring several people and resulted in the dead of two.

We lost something that we may never get back. We must stand behind a president that threatens our very existence by being a semi-dictator, we must defend our democracy by standing down, we must obey our laws that are illegally enacted, we must wait for a right cause to unite us all. It is funny how the international community is quick to defend the so call democratic governments, but quite and slow when the common citizen loses the liberty that those same democratic governments ought to defend.

SHAME on everybody who let what happened yesterday to be forgotten and distorted. Correa is right, the opposition must win in the polls, but as we learned from the outcome of the elections in Venezuela, winning in the polls may not be enough…

There you have it what people on the ground had to say about last week’s Ecuador turmoil.

Gary

Join us this Thursday and see more on Ecuador and global opportunity.

USA Today:“Financial crisis sinks claws deeper into European nations – Irish bank may get more aid; Spain credit rating may sink

Voice of America: Read more on current widespread European strikes here.

Guardian: Strikes and demonstrations take place across Europe against austerity measures aimed at tackling state budget deficits

New York Times: October 3 2010 Terrorism Alert

New International Investing Era


A new international investing era could be created by a destructive scientific fundamental that is now so powerful it could overwhelm all other factors determining our wealth. This danger has such power that it could destroy most investors and much worse… end civilization as we know it.

electromagnetic-pulse

Photo from Wikepedia report on Electromagnetic pulse weapons.

The most frightening part is that this force could unleash its destruction on us… now… at any time!

I want to share what, why and when this disaster could happen.

Then, I want to share how you can be protected rather than ruined.  We’ll even see how this, with luck, could be the creator of untold wealth which you, I, and a handful of cautious, insightful investors could share.

Before I explain how to safeguard your family from this possible upcoming disaster, let me explain that I first began to understand the magnitude of the risk after reading the New York Times best selling novel “One Second After” written by bestselling author, William R. Forstchen.

The story had extra meaning for me because it shows life in a small North Carolina town (similar to where Merri and I live during the summer) after an electro magnetic pulse is detonated by terrorists over the United States.

In the story the electrical grid and anything using a computer stopped working due to an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) created by just three small nuclear devices, launched from container ships and detonated high above the USA.

Without central communication and distribution, mass devastation and chaos ensued immediately.   The agony was terrible and life almost unfathomably complicated.

What made this fiction meaningful is that the book really documents and details the West’s dangerous reliance on technological systems which are so extensive that no one even recognizes them any more.

Adding to the terror of this book is a forward by Newt Gingrich and and afterword by Captain Bil Sanders (USN) one of the foremost experts on EMP. His comment  on how an EMP exploded over the US would create the Compton effect and how it would have “devastating consequences on our country” should be examined and understood.

It was Captain Sanders’ deep understanding of EMPs that made the warning in this book so powerful.

In a moment we’ll share ways to protect against this disaster… that could happen to all of us… suddenly… at any time.

First here are three facts that you should know.

EMP Fact #1: Many countries, including the US have EMP weapons that have nothing to do with a nuclear bomb and are quite small. They essentially put out a high energy very sharp spike of energy – high frequency and very short wavelength, short duration pulse.

However it is the nuclear EMP device that creates the greatest risk.  These are nuclear bombs that DO NOT CREATE DAMAGE FROM THEIR BLAST, HEAT OR NUCLEAR FALLOUT.   Instead the weapons create an electrical wave that fries just about anything with a computer.  A survey of open sources over the past decade finds that knowledge about EMP and EMP attack is evidenced in at least Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan, Sweden, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia.

Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings have shown how to design nuclear weapons that generate an extra powerful EMP effect called Super-EMP that can destroy even the best protected military and civilian electronic facilities.

electromagnetic-pulse

EMP Fact #2:  This risk has grown to such an extent that America’s electrical grid is so vulnerable to terrorist attack that the Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson is pushing a bill to give the energy commission broad authority for “true emergency situations.”

This is explained in a recent USA Today article entitled “Electrical grid vulnerable to terrorist attack”  by Thomas Frank.  Here are excerpts from that article: It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth’s atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months.

electromagnetic-pulse

This graphic is from the USA Today article linked below.

Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses.

An expert panel that Congress created to study such an attack says it would halt banking, transportation, food, water and emergency services and “might result in defeat of our military forces.”

“The consequences would be catastrophic,” said Joseph McClelland, director of the energy commission’s Office of Electric Reliability. Full recovery could take up to 10 years, he said.

The scenario involves a phenomenon called an “electromagnetic pulse,” or EMP, which is essentially a huge energy wave strong enough to knock out systems that control electricity flow across the country.

The immediate effect would resemble a blackout. Although blackouts can be restored quickly, an EMP could damage or destroy power systems, leaving them inoperable for months or longer.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is pushing a bill to give the energy commission broad authority.

At a committee hearing in July, Steve Naumann of energy giant Exelon said the authority should be limited to “true emergency situations.”

The commission studying the threat says the U.S. is ill-prepared to prevent or recover from an EMP, a vulnerability could invite an attack.

“We are not well-protected at all,” said Michael Frankel, who was executive director of the commission.

EMP Fact #3:  If an EMP event takes place, the Western World could quickly run out of food. Here is an excerpt of a transcript of a speech given by Professor Sir John Beddington, chief scientific adviser to the British government, at the GovNet SDUK09 event.  This has become know as “The Perfect Storm” speech.

I spoke here last year at about the same time about the issue of the food crisis and the burgeoning increases in food prices that were being driven by population growth, use of biofuels and so on.

The first problem here is that we really have a major issue. This graph takes a little bit of explanation; it is the ratio of our reserves to our consumption. What it is showing is that last year is the lowest level of reserves that we have had as a proportion of our consumption in years, since 1970 and actually since records were taken of this sort.

electromagnetic-pulse

That means that we’ve got somewhere like reserves of around 14% of our consumption, that implies, give or take, 38 or 39 days of food reserves if we don’t grow any more.

As you can see, it’s the lowest level that we’ve actually had.  Is that a problem?  Well the answer is yes it is going to be a problem.  We saw the food spike last year; prices going up by something in the order of 300%, rice went up by 400%, we saw food riots, we saw major issues for the poorest in the world, in the sense that the organisations like the World Food Programme did not have sufficient money to buy food on the open market and actually use it to feed the poorest of the poor.

But this is England, not North America.  Right?

Beddingdon’s note shows that North America might not be able to rely on Europe for much food assistance and…

America’s food reserves are even worse as explained in this excerpt from last year’s article “The US has no grain reserves” published in the Tri State Observer, Milford, PA. The excerpt says:  Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), has raised concerns over the issue of U.S. grain reserves after it was announced that the sale of 18.37 million bushels of wheat from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

“According to the May 1, 2008 CCC inventory report there are only 24.1 million bushels of wheat in inventory, so after this sale there will be only 2.7 million bushels of wheat left the entire CCC inventory,” warned Matlack. “Our concern is not that we are using the remainder of our strategic grain reserves for humanitarian relief. AAM fully supports the action and all humanitarian food relief.

Our concern is that the U.S. has nothing else in our emergency food pantry. There is no cheese, no butter, no dry milk powder, no grains or anything else left in reserve. The only thing left in the entire CCC inventory will be 2.7 million bushels of wheat which is about enough wheat to make 1⁄2 of a loaf of bread for each of the 300 million people in America.” (MY BOLD)

The CCC is a federal government-owned and operated entity that was created to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices. CCC is also supposed to maintain balanced and adequate supplies of agricultural commodities and aids in their orderly distribution.

“This lack of emergency preparedness is the fault of the 1996 farm bill which eliminated the government’s grain reserves as well as the Farmer Owned Reserve (FOR),” explained Matlack.

This is backed up by a Scienceblog article that says: “The US Government Has Zero Grain Reserves.”

In 1996, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (“Freedom to Farm Act”) called for elimination of government stockpiles of grain.  I’m sure someone thought it made sense, at the time.

Now, the United States government has no reserves of butter, cheese, dry milk, barley, corn, oats, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, rice, sugar, honey, peanuts, canola seed, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower seed, sunflower seed, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and cotton.  [Source: US Farm Service Agency, Current CCC Inventory (PDF file)]

The book, “One Second After”, clearly and very dramatically (but I am not sure how accurately) drives home the point that unless a person takes a unique financial stance that his finances, and maybe even his or her life, could be wiped out.   Many military and scientific studies support this monumental economic, social and life threatening risk.

Yet you do not have to ruined by EMP.  You may even find that this potential weapon will create extra ordinary wealth that a few investors will share.  Here is how and why.

First, there is no proof that an EMP event as described above would create quite the havoc mentioned above.

Here is how one scientist whom I have known for years and trust completely, explains this.

“I’m not sure how large an effect the nuclear device would have above the atmosphere — the pulse might dissipate somewhat along the earth’s electromagnetic field.  It would probably take out a lot of communications and military satellites.

“Electronic devices that are not attached to any power source and that do not have an antenna when the EMP pulse hits could survive – even better with some shielding material.”

EMPs could be the driving force for the next investing era.

Just like the nuclear threat in the Cold War…  an EMP attack may never happen.   Yet because it could… the perception of risk… has created a huge rush by many governments to develop new weapons and forms of protection… just as during the Cold War.

This site and our multi currency site have repeated many times how stock market bulls and bears are based on cycles of human interaction, war, technology and productivity.

These cycles are intricately connected with the new waves of productivity that grow from the great human platform of combat. The cycle goes like this.

An economic downturn enhances a war or threat of war. Struggles for survival in the war (like the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Cold War (WWIII), super charge inventiveness that creates new forms of productivity…the steam engine, the internal combustion engine,  production line processes, jet engines, TV, farming techniques, plastics, telephone, computer and lastly during the Cold War, the internet.

Each new invention helped win a war.  Shifting the technology to domestic use… after the war… created a boom.

Each boom leads to excess.

Each excess led to a correction.  The correction creates an economic downturn.

The economic downturn enhances a war or threat of war.

Here we are… in the correction again… at the correct time when we should expect that another war (or threat of war such as the Cold War) should begin to build!   This latest downturn started almost exactly (1998), 16 years after the last boom began (1982)…which began after the last great human struggle called the Cold War.

If the cycle repeats, the struggle should build now due to the poor economy.

The key for spotting the greatest investment opportunities is to spot the next big invention… the technology that will spin out of WWIV.

The key is that a problem must have such severe consequences (such as losing the war and being destroyed) that all stops… all logics of return on investment are ignored.  Technology and research are pushed full steam ahead regardless of cost. The threat must be real and serious… like EMP.

There are seven steps you can take to assure that you are not destroyed by an EMP.

#1:  Move well away from the USA…. to an agriculturally based country.  This is one reason Merri and I have been active in Ecuador for nearly 15 years.

#2: Move to Small Town USA.  Our sites have been looking at the benefits of this for years and why we live on agricultural property.

#3:  Create your own source of food.

#4: Create a local source of hardened energy and communications.  This is one reason our newest real estate purchase is also agricultural property and already has a HAM radio tower installed.

#5: Keep some gold and or silver on hand.

#6: Know how to take care of your own health.

#7:  Hold some assets outside of North America.

Merri and I have already taken six of these seven steps… and are well on our way to completing the seventh step.  From this we learned one really important point.

You should not suffer in the process of  gaining this protection either.

Merri and I did not move to the country… buy our Blue Ridge farm… set up our own food supply… start our garden… buy agricultural land in Florida… get a ham radio tower… buy gold and silver… organize assets out of the US and become involved in taking care of our own health naturally because we were worried about EMPs.  We did so because we wanted to.

Chances are that an EMP attack will NOT take place.  During the Cold War nuclear bomb shelters were not required!

Yet can we take a chance?  Ignoring this risk and with no action is not the answer either.

Instead let’s share ways and lifestyle alterations that protect as they provide joy, satisfaction, better health and enhanced wealth.

You may not be able to (or want) to move your home abroad or to a rural area.   Yet gardening, even in urban areas,  can be healthy and fun.  Holding some precious metals is probably a good investment anyway.  We should be taking care of our health even when their is no threat of war.

When it comes to holding assets abroad… our multi currency course can help.

Since mankind began, every generation has endured some great threat or risk.  Yet here we are… still growing!  Only time will tell whether EMP will create havoc or the greatest new wave of wealth we have seen.  Whichever, Merri and I will be here to share the experience with you.

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.

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.

To Enroll click below.

1 real estate tour  $499 Couple $749

2 seminar courses & tours $949 Couple  $1,399

3 seminar courses & tours   $1199 Couple  $1,749

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

5 seminar courses & tours  $1,599 Couple $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

See our entire 2010 seminar and tour schedule here

Read the entire articles:

Electrical grid vulnerable to terrorist attack

The US has no grain reserves” published in the Tri State Observer, Milford, PA.

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 Experience


Here are some thoughts on why the growing desire for experience can create profits with an Ecuador experience or investments in an experience.

Ecuador-experience

Here is an Ecuador sunrise viewed from our hotel Meson de las Flores. When the day begins in Ecuador you never know what new experience you’ll have next!

Understanding the seventh wave in the industrial revolution, the Imagination Era, can help us understand benefits in Ecuador and see how to invest better anywhere in the world.

Technology has moved humanity through numerous eras of innovation (Steam Powered – Internal Combustion Powered – Chemical/Plastics/TV/Telephone/Jet Powered – Electronics powered and Information Powered). Each era made society more efficient. New modes of productivity changed the way we eat, work, sleep, live, practice religion, politics, gather our families, spend, etc. Now we are headed into the Imagination Era.

The information era has peaked. We can still make money in Microsoft and the .coms but the really easy, big billions were all made before 1998.  These peal of each era lasts 30 years or more and we are about a decade into the Imagination Era.

In the Imagination Era, whatever can be is automated.

In the Imagination Era, excellence and value are taken for granted.   Automated assembly lines that turn out low cost, highly usable, dependable products are growing. Innovations in production are taking place very quickly within industry.

In the Imagination Era, the story reigns king! People buy products based on the story behind the product. Consumers want experiences more than things.

Ecuador-experience

For example our September Super Thinking Spanish Course coincided with Imbabura’s Indigenous Corn Festival. Our delegates were rewarded with the experience of a Cotacachi parade and…

Ecuador-experience

the…

Ecuador-experience

Corn Queen.  These are not…

Ecuador-experience

small parades.

In the Information Era, values  are even more important than the economic value.

We can see the Imagination Era every day.  Eras do not start and stop in a day. We still have textiles and foundries, railroads, airplanes, etc. Airlines and car manufacturers still exist (though we have just seen a shakeout with Internal Combustion Era businesses).

The Imagination Era has been forming for some time. Chances are it will rise even faster and sharper than all those in the past and the peak is near.

Ecuador-experience

Here’s a Corn Princess.

One example is seen in this excerpt from a recent New York Times article entitled “Disney’s Retail Plan Is a Theme Park in Its Stores” by Brooks  Barnes and published October 12, 2009: The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steven P. Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall. Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, leading a tour, says, “It’s time to take risks.”  At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square.

Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs. The chain’s traditional approach of displaying row after row of toys and apparel geared to Disney franchises will be given a high-tech makeover and incorporated into a new array of recreational activities. The goal is to make children clamor to visit the stores and stay longer, perhaps bolstering sales as a result. Over the next five years, analysts estimate that Disney will spend about $1 million a store to redecorate, reorganize and install interactive technology.

“The world does not need another place to sell Disney merchandise — this only works if it’s an experience,” said Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide. (Bold is mine)

Steve Jobs at Apple is helping with proprietary information about Apple’s successful stores, and his message is “Dream bigger”.   There is great  interactivity — parents will be able to book a Disney Cruise on touch-screen kiosks while their children play.

Ecuador is perfect as a place to experience new adventures, lifestyles and ways of life because the population includes one of the most highly successful indigenous populations who have integrated their ancient culture with the Western economy.

Ecuador-experience

Another Corn Princess.

These parades go on for hours…

Ecuador-experience

with wonderful floats, bands, music and  dancers.

Ecuador-experience

When looking for places to invest, visit or live, we can go beyond Disney… and enjoy the benefits of this era’s desire for experience.

Our course delegates were delighted.  So when  you come to Ecuador be ready for adventure and something new.  You ever know what wonderful experiences you’ll enjoy!

Gary

See Cotacachi Surprise Parade

Join our Ecuador courses and tours October, November or December.

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.

Head south. Experience Ecuador!

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

December 6-8 Beyond Logic Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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 entire article “Disney’s Retail Plan Is a Theme Park in Its Stores”

Ecuador Demonstrations


There were some Ecuador demonstrations last week.

ecuador-demonstrations

This and the AP photos below by Dolores Ochoa show Ecuador protesters blocking the Pan Am Highway. See excerpts of the related article below.

Merri and I are used to these Ecuador protests as they are part of life in Ecuador. Though we have not seen any Ecuador demonstrations for several years,  they represent a good part of the Ecuadorian way and I am proud of how the  people exercise their democratic rights…. peacefully… but effectively.

The French use demonstrations as well and remember France is where many of the current ideals of democracy as we know them and processes that helped the industrial revolution really begin.

Yet the French leave cars flipped and shops burned. Remember what they did to some of their royalty!  In Ecuador violence is rarely the case.

ecuador-protests

Part of Ecuador’s political problems are created because the majority of the population are very poor… and poorly educated… but they are gaining.  This is Maria…  excited to be headed on her first day to university to study tourism management through a scholarship provided by our foundation, Land of the Sun.

Merri and I have been in the midst of several Ecuador demonstrations.  Our first protest party took place many years ago in the 1990s.  We had to get a friend from Latacunga, (one of the most active places for demonstrations), to Quito airport.

There is a “moving through Ecuador road blocks art” that we learned.

ecuador-protests

Ecuadorians are by nature friendly and easy going. Violence is rare… in their protests, crime or politics. These girls attend the Topo Grande school that Land of the Sun foundation is assisting.

In that first protest adventure we were with a yatchak… in his car… a four wheel drive. This meant that  a lot of the demonstration avoidance tactics came in the form of driving down railway tracks, through football fields and for quite some distance on the grassy path that formerly was the Incan trail.

Eventually however one meets a roadblock.  On that trip the yatchak did most of the work. As gringos we stayed in the car and let the yatchak do the talking.  Most road blocks are more like street parties… the blockers only half serious. There are generally two types of demonstrators… those with a real gripe and the majority who see the demonstration as a sort of fun time.

If you meet up with the party types… usually a dollar or two is a sufficient consideration to be able to move on IF one approaches the road block correctly… never with pushiness or aggression.

If one meets up with those who have a true grievance… the process is more difficult but usually  an earnest listen to their complaint… a murmur of agreement, some sympathy and an explanation of why you need to pass through, with perhaps a dollar or two will open the block.

In that first trip, the taxi drivers had the complaint… so they were the hardest nuts to crack… but the yatchak never failed.  Gentle words… appreciation for their plight and explanation of our own problems always opened the gates.

That trip to the airport took much longer than normal… one does not rush through these events… but we were able to help our friend board his plane on time.

Our second Ecuador demonstration trip took place on the day before one of our seminars in Ecuador.  Talk about terrible timing!

We always met delegates when they arrive at the airport the day before the seminar so we needed to travel from Cotacachi to Quito.  Normally we would make the two hour trip via the Pan American highway.  But Otavalo is another major, strong point for demonstrations.

We have developed a network of friends across the country so we knew that the Pan American was tightly closed.

So we headed down the back roads with an intrepid taxi driver who knew the ropes.

At each road block I would lay down in the back seat, close my eyes and groan.  Owh owh owh.

Merri, looking as pathetic as possible, rambled on “Me esposa necesita un hospital”.

The taxi driver requested clearance to the “hospital” and offered a few dollar for the favor.

This worked half way to Quito.  However there are some road blocks that just cannot be passed.  We found such a place where one group had dug a large pit through the road.

ecuador-demonstrations

Another AP photo shows how some road blocks cannot circumnavigated.

Here I experienced a major recovery from my illness, grabbed our suitcase and we walk through the burning tires… NOT LOOKING ANYONE IN THE EYE.

The only hangup came when our hound dog Ma became tangled in the wires from burned tires. On the other side of the road farmers awaited with their pickups.   For $20, they were willing to give us a lift into town. The normal two hour journey turned into six…. but we were there, smiling when our delegates arrived.

The demonstrations (as with those last week) lasted only a day and we accompanied our delegates on the bus back to Cotacachi next day on the Pan American highway.  No one really suffered.

In short Ecuador demonstrations can range from kinda fun to frustrating… but rarely dangerous… as long as one takes their time, remains passive and avoids getting involved.   These Ecuador demonstrations, are in my opinion, a good part of Ecuador’s democratic process.

I expected political tensions to tighten in January… but they seem to be winding up sooner.

Here is my thinking why there will be more political turmoil in the months ahead.

Part of Ecuador’s political problem began over 500 years ago when the Spanish began colonizing the area that is now Ecuador. The system favored a few at the expense of the majority and has remained that way.

Today the majority of the population is indigenous….but historically have had little political power and they have the smallest portion of wealth and income. Here is a resident of the village of Topo Grande.

ecuador-protests

Slowly they have become increasingly organized and must be considered as a political power that now determines elections.  Yet due to the fact that they still remain among the poorest sector of the population, they also understand the global economy the least.

Almost every Ecuador president, since Merri and I began living in Ecuador, has been elected in part by making promises to poor people, like this lady above, that could not be kept.

President Correa is included in this definition and had two added benefits… his ability to speak Quichua (the indigenous language) and high oil prices when he entered office.

Oil revenues provide the major part of the government’s income and the high prices allowed Correa to keep many of his promises in his first years in office.

Then oil prices dropped and the government began cutting back.

This put so much pressure on the government income that in July 2009 it sold a billion dollars of oil to the Chinese.

An excerpt from a Reuter’s article entitled “Oil-hungry China moves to strengthen Ecuador ties” explains as it says:  QUITO (Reuters) – Oil-hungry China is moving to strengthen ties with OPEC member Ecuador, part of a global trend in which the Asian giant is providing billions of dollars in financing to producer nations to guarantee energy supplies.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on Saturday the country will receive $1 billion as advance payment for future oil sales to China. Ecuador sends most of its oil to the United States, and is trying to diversify its market.

Details remained unclear on Monday. But China, the world’s second biggest petroleum consumer after the United States, is striving to cement better ties with resource-rich Ecuador.
Chinese company Sinohydro is bidding for a contract with Ecuador to build a $2 billion hydroelectric plant in the country.

In addition, the leftist Ecuadorean government says it is in talks with Chinese companies interested in investing in the Manta air base, which the U.S. Army is due to leave in September. Ecuador wants to build a commercial airport in Manta.

According to the Chinese customs office, China imported 326,000 tonnes of crude oil from Ecuador in the first four months of 2009.

Ecuador is the fifth largest producer of crude oil in South America after Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. It produced 486,000 barrels of crude oil a day in May.

Impoverished Ecuador faces a liquidity crunch due to low oil prices. The government’s recent debt default has shut the country off from the international capital markets.

Here is how one sharp Ecuador businessman explained the problem to me.

The government took payment now on 30% of its future oil, beginning next January to balance the current budget. How will it balance its budget next year with only 70% of its oil?

This leaves the Ecuador government only two options… higher gas prices… a factor beyond its control… or a cut back which means breaking more election promises.

That’s why it made sense to me that demonstrations would start next year not now.

However I was wrong. On hearing of the demonstrations I wrote to a network of friends and contacts across the country to get people’s opinions. Here are some of the replies I received.

Business person from Manta:

Dear Gary, Today Sunday the indigenas stared to make groups in different places of Guayaquil  and especially Quito. It Iooks like they want to make strikes tomorrow and to close main roads especially in highlands areas.   Until this moment everybody is quiet and nobody worries over  that situation.  The people are asking for solutions to water problems and something more.,

I think we have to see what happens tomorrow and hope that there is nothing more than a one day demonstration.

The Real Estate Tour in Manta was very good yesterday.  The people were very nice and it looks like two couples and two men are planning to stay in Manta to see more properties.

Demonstrations have been brewing and are now taking place on two fronts.

One of them regards schoolteachers that are part of a much politicized association called UNE (Union Nacional de Educadores – or National Teachers Association) who opposes the widely celebrated regime effort to bring higher quality to public schooling via teacher examination and training.

UNE appears to be divided in this and the government is gaining ground in this legitimate endeavor.

The other front regards mostly the indigenous population (also somewhat divided), who opposes the draft for the new Water Law, claiming that it will “privatize” water, something that has no grounds.

They say that they have not been taken into account in drafting it and that it has elements for the privatization of water. Please note that the indigenous peoples of Ecuador are very dependent on natural water sources for their livelihood.

The indigenous population is adept at closing-off highways in very disruptive demonstrations.

So far it seems that the demonstrations have been mostly mild but it’s hard to tell if they will flare-up big time.

The indigenous people also oppose the new mining law on environmental grounds. The general public believes this new mining law is important as it provides environmental safeguards but also allows the exploitation of our mineral riches under a better framework. There are always tradeoffs of course.

President Correa’s Government keeps a very high level of support amongst the population and has been extremely able to defuse situations like this, even though it has had a confrontational stance.

Change brings discomfort and demonstrations are part of our culture. I hope and trust they fade away amidst inclusive dialogue.

It seems that by Tuesday the demonstrations were defused. The biggest supporters have lifted their demonstrations in order to start a dialogue process.

Some fringe groups still remain protesting but for the most the demonstrations should be over now.  Best regards,

Business Person from Puerto Viejo

Hi Gary, Sorry I could not get back to you before.

As you probably know already, demonstrations have been going on this week.  There  are several groups such as teachers (UNE), indigenous people (CONAIE), high school and university students and other small groups who have gotten together protesting against different things they consider that violate or diminish their rights:  all of them have in common their opposition to the government, although the majority of them were part of the government in the past .

Each of the group is protesting against a particular law that is about to pass in the congress:  CONAIE  are against Ley del Agua or a law which regulates water and that in their opinion privatizes the water.  UNE or the teachers are against a new law of secondary and elementary education and also against some regulations that will reduce their salaries.  Students are also against  the law of university education which will not allow to have private universities in the future.  Of course political parties are also involved in these demonstrations.

CONAIE is now splitt and having talks with the government so I do not expect their strike to be as strong as in the past.  UNE  or the teachers are the ones that seem to be stronger and they are right now in their third week of protest.

Please let me know if you need more information or comments on these issues.

Kind regards,

Vilcabamba Teacher:

How are you?  I just read a little about this problem in my Country.  You know I feel sad about it because the only people who suffer the consequences are the students, right now the public schools and some universities are closed, students are in their homes.

UNE (national union of teachers) is protesting for 3 reasons:

1) The Ministerio de Education did some kind of administrative process against the teachers who did not do a test (I do not what kind of test) before, this administrative process could cause a teacher to be fired, so, UNE do not accept this process.

2) Also UNE protests about the new reforms in the law that reduce 1.5% of their salary.

3) UNE protests because a new law says that school´s authorities should get a commission of service without a salary.  Regards

Quito Businessman

Hi Gary,  There are 2 ways to read into this:

1.  Correa is trying to clean up the mess that Ecuador’s education system has grown into over the years, with UNE, the main teachers’ association becoming a by-product of the left wing political party MPD.  He has run into opposition and this has lead to the UNE’s strike which started last week.

He is also trying to put some order into the way water rights are distributed and managed in the country, thus angering CONAIE (whom he no longer needs as a political support base because through the same CONAIE and Pachakutik he has gained direct access to the indigenous people by providing them housing, infrastructure, etc.).

Now it turns out that the UNE strike will tie into the CONAIE demonstrations, and things could turn nasty next week.

2.  Correa has become obsessed with his power, and as such is trying to get control of every aspect of Ecuadorians’ life, including education, the use of land and water, the economy in general and of the production and industrial sector (taxing importers out of business in order to support local industry).  In doing so, he has alienated many of his former allies and has made worst enemies of his former foes.  This is unsustainable in the long run and the first signs that his government is heading into severe difficulties are starting to appear.  As you are aware, Correa has a very aggressive political style, criticizing his opponents and trying to make anyone who does not support him look bad and ridicule.  This has its cost and now Correa may be starting to pay the price.

Frankly speaking, I do not know how serious that is.  The main support of Correa’s “Citizens Revolution” has been the poor people.  If they start to turn against him, I do not think he will fare very well.  On the other hand, these demonstrations may just be caused by a minority of UNE and CONAIE, in which case, they will pass and it will be business as usual in Ecuador.   It is hard to tell at this time, but one thing that is for sure is that people are starting to run out of patience with respect to Correa.  We will have a clearer picture by next Monday, because it will be possible to gauge how strong and successful CONAIE’s closing of roads turns out to be.  Best,

Loja Businessman:

University and high school teachers have been protesting the elimination of a 1.5% payment and a couple of other issues. These protests began last week.

This is normal in Ecuador particularly by the union involved. They like to do this in the beginning of the school year.

The police are involved which makes this more serious, but I don’t know how serious.

Guayaquil businessman:

Gary, I do not see it so bad.

Ambato Investor:

By the way, from reading the article, it is not so against the Correa-Government.  Nonetheless, there has been some small protests in Ambato as well.

Coastal Businessman

Gary, thanks..I am in San Clemente and no demonstrations here!

The students and the teachers have always spent most of the time demonstrating..but of course the government thought they would avoid demonstrations against them with the “peoples revolution” slogan..

The indigenous people seem to want to march again against the new mining law and the governments intent to start big scale mining operations to improve finances..

I do not think any of these demonstrations will be even close in size to what they used to be during previous governments..basically because all these movements supported the government and it’s policy and many still do..They also lack the charismatic leaders they once had.

Regards,

This last comment seems to be supported by excerpts of an Associated Press article entitled “Ecuador Indian group protests water, mining laws”: The Associated Press  QUITO, Ecuador — Hundreds of Indians blocked Ecuador’s Pan American highway in several provinces Monday with rocks, tree trunks and burning tires to protest new water, mining and oil laws.

Their leaders suspended the protest late Monday, saying the government had promised to talk about their objections.

The Indians contend the proposed the laws threaten their lands and will privatize water resources. Leftist President Rafael Correa disputes that view, and the ruling party-controlled legislature has been expected to approve the laws.

Monday’s protests on the main national highway paled in comparison to protests that ousted Ecuadorean presidents in 2000 and 2005.

ecuador-demonstrations

Third AP photo from this article.

Things are improving. Ecuador’s indigenous are getting richer and better educated.

ecuador-protests

Enrique is one of the excellent Cotacachi indigenous builders who is developing homes in Cotacachi. He is among a growing sector of hard working, highly successful and dependable indigenous businesses that help form a strong, integrated  middle class in Ecuador.  Be sure see to see some of Enrique’s houses at this site next week.

Ecuador demonstrations are a part of Ecuador’s democratic process.  Since moving to Ecuador I have seen many presidents comes and many go… very few serving their full term… a process I like better than having a bad president last.    President Correa has enjoyed a time without Ecuador protests because of high oil prices and his willingness to default on Ecuador bonds.  That former decision is now biting him back… along with low oil prices… so more and more are saying… “throw the bum out”.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this at home?

Gary

Combining good international investing with the greatest asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live, 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.

See details of the two seminar below.

ecuador-seminars

Delegates at our Ecuador seminars and tours enjoy Ecuador music.

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM, our webmaster David Cross and me in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $300.

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Here is an email for a recent seminar delegate: Hello Gary and Merri,  I have wanted to write to tell you how much we enjoyed your IBEZ seminar, and to thank you both for inviting us all into your lovely home for lunch last Sunday.  Merri, again, thank you for taking the time to prepare foods especially for me; they were delicious, and I appreciate your effort!  Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable, very well done, stimulating seminar.  I came away not only with all the notes provided, but also with many ideas which I plan to begin working on now that we are back home.  Wishing you all the best,

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

ecuador-exports

We take delegates on our Ecuador seminars to Otavalo markets.  Many buy enough goods to resell in North America to pay for their entire trip.  Ecuador textiles like these I photographed in Otavalo are popular.

Here are comments from one seminar delegate about the followup from our course:  Gary & Merri –
I know why I get a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling when I see your two names in the ‘From’ column of my emails!  I sincerely hope that others are getting that same satisfaction.  Thank you both again for the help and assistance in getting to Ecuador.

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour Sold Out

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

December 6-8 Beyond Logic Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 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 for two.

“Oil-hungry China moves to strengthen Ecuador tieswww.reuters.com/article/GCA-Oil/idUSTRE56C6FF20090713

www.thestate.com/world/story/962859.html?RSS=untracked
Ecuador Indian group protests water, mining laws

Internet Business Haro


New micro internet business opportunities arise all the time… Your own small internet business is a great way to make money… but there is something more.

Cotacachi-Ecuador-Condo-Rent

Morning on Cotacachi Ecuador’s plaza may be foggy but the economy is sunny and bright… and

I was sitting on our balcony at our hotel Inn Land of the Sun (formerly Meson de las Flores) in Cotacachi Ecuador… looking at the sunrise view.

internet-business-view tags;

Mt. Cotacachi was on my left.

internet-business-view tags;

Mt. Imbabura on my right.

internet-business-view tags;

The time was 5:36 am and I began my first round of answering my email.

The first note opened had the subject Om Bir and the email said:  Hello sir,  Nameste. T his is lalit from Nepal. i m working from two yrs. in roses. as a farm supervisor. we are exporting roses to japan.i’ll write you more about company.looking forward your reply.  lalit  kathmandu

What a wonderful way to start the day… I am in a small mountain village getting blessings from someone in mountains half way around the world.  Namaste means “may that which is in God be within you.”

We offer a course to help our readers start their own web business. This freedom not only makes life more enjoyable but also reduces the cost of living.

Technology brings us so many blessings… the things we take for granted… air travel… electricity… computers… cars… the internet… would be considered miracles for 99% of mankind that has existed.

Yet we can with the push of a button gain blessings… and business from around the world.

This is why we are sharing a free course on how to create your own website without a webmaster written by Michelle Toole. Here is the 38th lesson in this course.

What’s HARO?  By Michelle Toole

So you’re interested in starting your own self publishing business on the internet? Or maybe you have a book that you wrote and want to make a name for yourself?    Well, I have a great tip for you…..actually, it’s a great tip for anybody wanting to establish themselves as an expert and this will help you build your own ‘brand of one.’

Editors, as Merri always reminds us, are “always looking for content” and the same goes for reporters, bloggers, radio hosts and pod cast hosts.   So, how do you connect with editors, reporters, bloggers, radio hosts and pod cast hosts that need you?  Good Question….

And I have a great answer…. HARO.  What’s HARO?

HARO stands for ‘Help a Reporter Out’, a web site (helpareporter.com) started by Peter Shankman and it is an excellent resource for those of us trying to build our own ‘brand of one.’

According to Peter, “I built this list because a lot of my friends are reporters, and they call me all the time for sources. Rather than go through my contact lists each time, I figured I could push the requests out to people who actually have something to say.  These requests only come from reporters directly to me.”

Once you sign up to Peter’s web site you will get 3 emails each day.  Each email will include a list of reporters, bloggers, radio hosts and pod cast hosts looking for sources for their stories.  Of course it’s not likely that you will find someone looking for your expertise on a daily basis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you find something every other month.  It’s certainly worth your time and the best way to build your ‘brand of one’ is to put yourself out there.

Good Luck and happy Branding!…

You can check out Michelle’s web site at http://healthy-holistic-living.com and http://home-remedies-and-natural-cures.com.  To get more great tips, like the ones above and to see how and what tools she used to create a successful on-line business go to http://sitesell-sbi.comInternat Business Ideas

The sun always shines somewhere. Because many Americans are headed south… business is suffering in the north… but getting better n the sun!

Gary

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 can help you create your own internet business.

How We Can Serve You

How to Have Real Safety

Regain Real Security

There is a path to true security.

I was reminded of this once when I made a horrible mistake.  Almost!

The supposed error?  Letting my mind wander six decades back to an hour I spent with a girl.

Learn from this near disaster, seven most powerful sources of wealth, health, security and fulfillment in this era.

The girl was pretty and blond.  Terry was her name. My imagination spanned decades returning to my Oregon roots seeing her as if she were there.

We were 11 or 12 and had known each other since we started Rockwood grade school.  Just buddies, our non-romantic friendship lasted 12 years, from first grade till high school’s end.  Then she went off to Pepperdine College in California.  I started traveling the world.  Never saw her again.  I hope her life has gone well.  But until that reflection I’d never thought much of Terry in so many years.

What could have been the tragic error was letting that memory touch my heart.  Two kids, walking on a crisp, Pacific Northwest autumnal afternoon.

We walked down a sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt path.  Huge, fat, green Douglas firs lined the road.  Traffic was no problem, not many cars.  Crossing Stark Street we turned left, hiking three blocks to 182nd.  There we passed an old clapboard candy store.  I can still hear the wooden sidewalk of that store slap beneath my feet, felt the soggy planks sag and smelled astringent pitch from the fir trees.  Then we turned right, up 182nd for about a mile.  There was Terry’s house.

I carried on, walking through a big field, waist high grass turned straw brown by an early frost.  There were dozens of paths made by who knows what.  Animals perhaps or countless generations of other kids walking home alone from school.  I chose one following it to another wood of tall, rough-barked fir.  Crossing one more field, I climbed a rock wall, struggled through a barbed wire fence (my Mom hated that fence ripping my jeans).  I was home!

Sweet simplicity, that dream.  Two kids holding hands, walking on a dirt trail under a crisp, but blue, sunny sky.  Pure innocence.

My tragic error was looking back.  I returned to Rockwood, Oregon with Merri and my kids to show them this part of their roots.  Following the route, Terry and I had walked were the candy store, grange hall, old wooden buildings and their home spun honesty and charm.

Instead we found six lanes of fast, frantic traffic and road rage.  McDonalds, KFC, strip shopping centers.  The car radio blared warnings of local gangs and drive-by-shootings. Beauty, innocence, sweet simplicity, replaced by drive ins and drive bys.  Gangs and drive-by shootings replacing a tender walk in the sun.  Good bye memories, good bye.

How can our kids walk in places like this?  How can we return to those old feeling of security and comfort?

How can any of us possibly keep pace in this world that’s moving so fast?  Then something inside snapped. “There has to be an answer for honest, hard working folks to enjoy the wonderful opportunities of today and regain what we’ve lost over the past forty years”, I swore to myself.

How can we keep up, without having such a fast paced life we turn into machines?  Where do we find time for God, family, charity, and our friends?  How can we rediscover those sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths we want to walk?

“There has to be places that are still innocent and pure”, I thought.  “There has to be a way of life that does not pound us with stress”.

This thinking led me to begin reviewing the thousands of economic and business experiences I have shared with readers over the decades.  This started a search for a simpler way of life and a better place to earn and protect our wealth.

By digging, asking and observing, traveling and talking to investors and investment managers all over the world I found that there are true paths to real security in the here and now.  That knowledge helped me develop courses on how to have natural health, everlasting wealth and purposeful investments.

This knowledge helped Merri and me invest in stocks and real estate all over the world.  It helped us find and develop Merrily Farms into a sanctuary here on Little Horse Creek.

That almost error led us to create an entire portfolio of information on how to keep pace, get ahead, enjoy our modern society but, to enjoy life wherever you choose without having to move too fast.

I want to share this information with a special few in our summer course in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the air is dry, crisp, with a bright sparkling sun.  Our North Carolina woods is a place where we can once again walk down sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths beneath huge, fat, green fir and hemlock.

We start the course with this question that can help us get our lives back.

“What would you think in the last 30 seconds of your life if you were the richest man in the world but were unhappy?”

This quote is from the opening slide of our Value Investing Seminar, “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.  This a vital question because few investors think about the value of comfort and happiness.  Yet the truth is, those who are comfortable and happy with their investments are likely to make good investment decisions.  If not, no matter how much money an investors has, changes are, they’ll lose.

Bring Value and Purposeful Investing Together

value

Join us to learn how to make safety and profit easier and less time consuming so we can focus on our individual purposes in life.

Become an International Club member and join like-minded souls, who take a positive view and think outside the box for better health, greater income and safer, more profitable investments. Share ideas on how to add value to everything and make 2016 -2017 your best years yet.

In 2016 Merri’s, David’s and my mission is to share our 50 years of experience in international business, investing and living to make ourselves happier, healthier and wealthier.

To reach a wider audience we have shifted our seminars online including the seminar “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.

Here is a partial syllabus of this seminar.

  • Three common sense ideas:   Avoid lines.  Go where you are a name not a number.  Decide who you are and what matters to you.
  • Why three economic trends that have make smart investors rich every 30 years are ready for cashing in now.
  • How to look for short term problems that create long term value.
  • Update on the best ten markets for safety and profit.
  • How to diversify in value with Country ETFs.
  • The value of time in investing and life.
  • The economics in cyber wars. How to look back at the economics of war to see ahead.
  • Great new innovations that will ignite a 16 year bull market from 2016 to 2032.
  • The next great fuel.
  • Timing long cycles, economic cycles and seasonality.
  • Investing in Demographics.
  • Trading Down, the biggest global trend ahead.
  • Hidden Inflation .
  • How to protect against pension loss.
  • The Silver Dip 2016. When and how to invest in gold and silver . How to double your position with loans.
  • How to spot currency distortions and borrow low to deposit high.
  • How, Why When & Where to bank abroad.

Club membership is for an entire year and the recorded seminar is just one high point.

In 2016 and 2017 we are conducting online seminars about value investing, natural health and how to write to sell.

International Club members receive all the online seminars free.

In addition club membership includes:

  • Personal investing Course (Pi), normally $297, FREE
  • Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher, normally $299, FREE
  • Eventful Business, normally $349, FREE
  • International Business Made EZ, normally $299, FREE
  • Report “Three Economic Conditions for 50% or More Profit,” normally $29.95, FREE
  • Report “Silver Dip 2015” normally $27, FREE
  • Three online Value Investing Seminars, normally $477, FREE
  • One online Natural Health Seminar, normally $119, FREE
  • One online Writers Camp, normally $299, FREE

Annual International Club (one year) Membership  $1,199

Annual International Club (one year) Membership four quarterly $375 payments

Merri and I have been organizing courses, seminars and newsletters about international and Super Thinking  lifestyles for over 30 years.  The importance of this sharing… by like minded souls… was reinforced when a delegate from a course sent an email that said:

My Dearest Merri and Gary, Thank you for your most gracious hospitality last weekend. I am just thrilled at being a part of your group.  You and Gary were exactly as I imagined you to be, warm friendly, kind, considerate, genuine, helpful, fun, sincere, what else can I say……I felt so comfortable in your presence and learned so much in your course. I was sad to leave the farm that Sunday afternoon.  You made us all feel so welcome and cared about.  You were so kind to make arrangements for a ride with the other delegates from the Charlotte Airport.  They were so nice to me and so helpful, by the time the weekend was over I felt like they were my long lost brothers. Monday morning we all had breakfast at the airport together and I was so sad to see them go, I was sad the weekend was over, perhaps sad is not the right word for how I was feeling perhaps Gratitude is a better way to describe it.  Grateful for having the opportunity to share the weekend with such wonderful, like minded Human Beings, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Thank you Merri and Gary.  Thanks to you I now have new hope and a new direction to move forward in my life.   I know by attending your classes and conferences that through education and due diligence I will make the right choices.

I invite you to be a member of the International Club.

Let’s prosper in these times of change. Won’t you join us in this exciting club and share Merri’s and my lifestyle for the next year?  Join us online.

Club members receive everything we offer in 2016 and 2017.

Annual International Club (one year) Membership  $1,199

Annual International Club (one year) Membership four quarterly $375 payments

Gary

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We’ll have Ashe county wine tasting here at the New River Vineyard during our Blue Ridge seminars.

Or head south to Ecuador!

international-business-made-ez

Let our friendly staff at our Inn Land of the Sun (formerly Meson de as Flores) serve you.

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In Cotacachi and surrounds the weather is always spring like.  Here are delegates taking a shirt sleeve, winter break at a hotel for sale on our Imbabura real estate tour.

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Winter is shorts weather on Ecuador’s coast. Here I am working in February at our Ecuador coastal penthouse… shirtsleeves and shorts!

Join us in the mountains and at the sea. Attend more than one seminar and tour and save.

Power of Global Investing Diversification


There is great power in global investing diversification.

Investment-diversification

Sunrise at our North Carolina farm.  We diversify because the sun always shines somewhere.

Pure capitalistic theory says that in the long run… a global economy is good for everyone….overall.

Technology gives us the ability to buy from those who serve us best, wherever they are  in the world.  Why should we buy poorer quality goods locally at a higher price when someone from elsewhere can serve us better and for less.

Plus if we produce something better than anyone else we should be able to sell our product or service anywhere in the world as well.

Floridians and Californians buy apples from Oregon and North Carolina.

Oregonians and North Carolinians buy oranges from Florida or California because these areas each have special advantages… excellent conditions to produce and deliver those fruits clear across a continent, better and for less.

Global market advantages can be based on geography, infrastructure, skills sets, labor costs etc.

The theory of globalization is good but the process is not smooth. Globalization creates unemployment in many places and distorts many economies in the short term.  This usually pushes the process into the political arena and gets governments involved.  Governments often act based on political considerations rather than for good, long term economic reasons.

Plus business if given a chance… does not always encourage a free economy either.  Give big business a monopoly and they’ll tie up free trade even faster and much more efficiently than a government.

There is little, as businesses or investors, that we can do do to change these facts.

We are usually better off to adapt and take advantage of whatever situation exists instead.

This is what creates power in diversification.

Investment-diversification

Sunrise at our Ecuador hacienda.

The sun always shines somewhere. When our business and investments are diversified, we just have a better chance that our investments and business will be somewhere where there the business climate is sunny.

For example… a recent message Ecuador Beats Inflation looked at excerpts from a recent AOL.Money article by Jim Kuhnhenn entitled “White House Projects $9 Trillion Deficit”: In a chilling forecast, the White House is predicting a 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion — more than the sum of all previous deficits since America’s founding. And it says by the next decade’s end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy.  But before President Barack Obama can do much about it, he’ll have to weather recession aftershocks including unemployment that his advisers said Tuesday is still heading for 10 percent.  Overall, White House and congressional budget analysts said in a brace of new estimates that the economy will shrink by 2.5 to 2.8 percent this year even as it begins to climb out of the recession. Those estimates reflect this year’s deeper-than-expected economic plunge.

Yet at the same time a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Ecuador Inflation To End ’09 Below 4%”  By Mercedes Alvaro shows that Ecuador’s economy is growing.
Here is an excerpt: QUITO (Dow Jones)–Ecuador’s inflation rate will end 2009 below 4% and the economy will grow close to 2% this year, President Rafael Correa said Wednesday.

“The annualized inflation will be below 4%,” Correa said late Wednesday in a radio and TV address. “There is not recession. Ecuador will have a growth of about 2%.”  “We have faced the biggest world crisis successfully,” Correa added. Early Wednesday the central bank said the Ecuadorian economy overall is poised to expand 1% in 2009.  Ecuador’s gross domestic product grew 6.52% in 2008 while inflation reached 8.83%.  According to central bank data, Ecuador’s liquid international reserves stood at $4.0 billion as of Aug. 21.  Last week, the central bank president, Carlos Vallejo, said that the government will repatriate in the coming days some $300 million of Ecuador’s liquid reserves invested abroad.  Ecuador’s liquid international reserves include public-sector deposits with the central bank, revenues from oil exports, loans from multilateral lenders and minimum reserve requirements from private banks.  In May, the central bank established a liquidity requirement forcing private banks to keep at least 45% of their assets and investments in Ecuador to draw back cash and boost domestic liquidity.

Investment-diversification

Sunrise on…

Investment-diversification

Sunrise over Mount Imbabura.

Because I am diversified in Ecuador, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, in 2007, I was selling Florida property at the top of the market.  I was buying Ecuador real estate with those returns. Now that Florida  is down and Ecuador real estate has risen,  I am selling Ecuador real estate and buying in Florida.

A huge portion of all profits in business and investing come from timing.  Most commodity, stock and real estate markets go through ups and downs.  If you plan your investments and liquidity so you sell only at favorable times, global investing diversification enhances your chances of always having assets someplace where there is a seller’s market.

Investment-diversification

Sunrise shot from our hotel Meson de las Flores.

So when you think Ecuador… or Mexico or Panama… or wherever…. also thing diversification.  The sun always shines somewhere and your changes of financial suntans increase when you diversify.

Gary

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 our North Carolina or Ecuador International Business & Investing seminar in October or November all three courses, “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course,”  “Self Fulfilled- How to be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ” free.

internet-business-idea We always conduct our autumn North Carolina course on the first weekend of October… the best time to enjoy  the leaf change.

Join us with Jyske Bank and my webmaster David Cross in West Jefferson North Carolina. Learn more about global investing, & how to have an international business at the seminar.

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

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You’ll see views like this on your way to West Jefferson for the October seminar.

Or head south to Ecuador!

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October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour ONLY FOUR SPACES LEFT

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

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In Cotacachi the weather is always spring like.  Here is the village plaza near our hotel Meson de las Flores.

Join us with Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management in Ecuador. Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business at the seminar.

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

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Let our friendly staff at Meson de las Flores serve you.

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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This shorts weather photo was taken from our beach penthouse in February.

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

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 entire article Ecuador Inflation To End ’09 Below 4%

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 Beats Inflation


Living in Ecuador is one way to beat inflation.

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Ecuadorians now how to live well on less.  They even farm steep land like this.

See two other ways to beat inflation below.

Beating inflation is absolutely vital now… especially for those about to retire… because Social Security is fading.

Lalla was a 14th century poetess who lived in Kashmir.  She described herself as a somewhat… something… moving dreamlike… on a fading road.

This is a perfect description for Social Security now… somewhat… something… moving dreamlike… on a fading road.

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Almost every plot of spare Ecuador land is rich and growing food.

Picture this.

Excerpts from a recent AOL.Money article by Jim Kuhnhenn entitled “White House Projects $9 Trillion Deficit”: In a chilling forecast, the White House is predicting a 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion — more than the sum of all previous deficits since America’s founding. And it says by the next decade’s end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy.  But before President Barack Obama can do much about it, he’ll have to weather recession aftershocks including unemployment that his advisers said Tuesday is still heading for 10 percent.  Overall, White House and congressional budget analysts said in a brace of new estimates that the economy will shrink by 2.5 to 2.8 percent this year even as it begins to climb out of the recession. Those estimates reflect this year’s deeper-than-expected economic plunge.

The grim deficit news presents Obama with both immediate and longer-term challenges. The still fragile economy cannot afford deficit-fighting cures such as spending cuts or tax increases. But nervous holders of U.S. debt, particularly foreign bondholders, could demand interest rate increases that would quickly be felt in the pocketbooks of American consumers.

The amount of  this debt just an astounding and will almost certainly lead to inflation and a falling US dollar.

ecuador-farming

A lot of the food grown is organic so…

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the local markets, like this one in Cotacachi have low cost organic “Productos Organicos.”  This makes it easier and less expensive to eat well in Ecuador.

The article above about the deficit is bad enough news but a recent USA Today article Social Security checks set to shrink in 2010 that shows how for those who are retiring, matters are getting even worse. Here is an excerpt:  Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise.

The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription-drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.

Cost-of-living adjustments are pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year, largely because energy prices are below 2008 levels.

Seniors “count on that COLA,” said Barbara Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut who heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. “To some people, it might not be a big deal. But to seniors, especially with their health care costs, it is a big deal.”

Even the Cathedral next to our hotel grows organic corn in the church yard.

ecuador-farming

There are numerous ways to beat this inflation crunch.

Inflation beater #1: Move to a low cost of living location like Ecuador. Inflation will hit Ecuador as well… but the starting baseline is lower.  In addition people in Ecuador know how to live well… on less.

Inflation beater #2: Own real estate or other commodities. The price of property and commodities, properly purchased will rise with inflation.  Property in Smalltown USA especially offers value now.

Inflation beater #3: Have your own business.  This is the greatest inflation beating asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live.

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

ecuador-farming

With so much sun and plenty of rain, the grass is rich, even in Cotacachi at 7,500 feet altitude for…

ecuador-farming

these organic cows.  Plus raw milk can be purchased directly… and at a low cost from the dairy keeping the cost of good living down.

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.

Gary

Here are comments from one seminar delegate about the way we help: I really enjoy your Ecuador e-mail every day, especially because of the eclectic nature of the subjects. The recent postings on Loja were great, as my wife and I visited Loja for two nights and a day when were were in Ecuador last March. It is a beautiful town, and we met some very nice people there.

At our hotel the staff makes our own butter, marmalade and ice cream. Plus they love serving in beautiful ways. Here is how they set out the cutlery!  How can anyone not be charmed by such care.

ecuador-beauty

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.

Read the entire articles below:

White House Projects $9 Trillion Deficit

Social Security checks set to shrink in 2010

Investing in Chaos


Many recent messages have looked at living, business and investing in chaos during times of turmoil and change.

investing-in-chaos

Ecuador at times may seem chaotic.

Chaos is caused by transition from one wave of productive technology to another.

Investors and businesses who understand this have an enormous advantage because they know to look for the next wave.

In a moment, we’ll look at the potential for chaos in Ecuador.

First, let’s look at some positive chaos that could ruin some basic utilities but also create millions (maybe billions) for some businesses and investors.

The industrial revolution has been a time of continual chaos.  There was a time of turmoil when mankind shifted from steam technology to the internal combustion engine. Investors who had been big in railroads (but were smart) shifted to investing in automobiles and trucking and bus lines.

Then chaos came again when the jet engine made the airplane a more effective form of transportation than long distance.  Bus travel and smart investors shifted from Greyhound into airline shares.

In the information era; the PC, Internet (and Microsoft) became the major carrier of mankind and investors who saw this potential once again jumped ahead of the pack.

Where do we go next?

One new wave of technology may come in a product we all take for granted…. creating what I would call the independence era. Let’s just look at the break through.

A forward looking reader sent me the Utah Daily Herald article “New battery could change world, one house at a time” by Randy Wright.

Here is an excerpt:  On a modest building on the west side of Salt Lake City, a team of specialists in advanced materials and electrochemistry has produced what could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.  — a new generation of deep-storage battery that’s small enough, and safe enough, to sit in your basement and power your home.

It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.

The battery breakthrough comes from a Salt Lake company called Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, a world leader in advanced materials and electrochemical devices.

The convergence of these two key technologies — solar power and deep-storage batteries — has profound implications for oil-strapped America.

With small-scale electrical generation taking place at millions of individual homes — as opposed to today’s large-scale power generation from a handful of giant power plants — there would be less worry about what’s called “point failure” on the grid. That’s when a single component gets knocked out and shuts off power to a whole region. California-style rolling blackouts would be history.

The threat of terrorism has heightened the worry. But wide distribution of batteries in homes would virtually eliminate it.

Inside Ceramatec’s wonder battery is a chunk of solid sodium metal mated to a sulphur compound by an extraordinary, paper-thin ceramic membrane. The membrane conducts ions — electrically charged particles — back and forth to generate a current. The company calculates that the battery will cram 20 to 40 kilowatt hours of energy into a package about the size of a refrigerator, and operate below 90 degrees C.

This may not startle you, but it should. It’s amazing. The most energy-dense batteries available today are huge bottles of super-hot molten sodium, swirling around at 600 degrees or so. At that temperature the material is highly conductive of electricity but it’s both toxic and corrosive. You wouldn’t want your kids around one of these.

The essence of Ceramatec’s breakthrough is that high energy density (a lot of juice) can be achieved safely at normal temperatures and with solid components, not hot liquid.

Ceramatec says its new generation of battery would deliver a continuous flow of 5 kilowatts of electricity over four hours, with 3,650 daily discharge/recharge cycles over 10 years. With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery’s life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Re-read that last paragraph and let the information really sink in. Five kilowatts over four hours — how much is that? Imagine your trash compactor, food processor, vacuum cleaner, stereo, sewing machine, one surface unit of an electric range and thirty-three 60-watt light bulbs all running nonstop for four hours each day before the house battery runs out. That’s a pretty exciting place to live.

And then you recharge. With a projected 3,650 discharge/recharge cycles — one per day for a decade — you leave the next-best battery in the dust. Deep-cycling lead/acid batteries like the ones used in RVs are only good for a few hundred cycles, so they’re kaput in a year or so.

How do you recharge? By tapping your solar panels or windmills. It’s just like plugging in your cell phone or iPod, only you plug in your house.

A small three-bedroom home in Provo might average, say, 18 kWh of electric consumption per day in the summer — that’s 1,000 watts for 18 hours. A much larger home, say five bedrooms in the Grandview area, might average 80 kWh, according to Provo Power. Either way, a supplement of 20 to 40 kWh per day is substantial. If you could produce that much power in a day — for example through solar cells on the roof — your power bills would plummet.

“Batteries and PV are about to merge,” said MIT’s Nocera, using the shorthand for “photovoltaics” or solar power. “First Solar is now saying that it takes $1 a peak watt to manufacture, and another 80 cents for installation. So they’re saying that you can get PV for under $2 a watt. That’s a reduction of cost by a factor of four. Only a few years ago, it was $8. If CoorsTek and Ceramatec come up with a good battery, the market will develop quickly.”

The long-term impact of home electric generation for a power company’s business model could be huge. After all, you can’t stay in business if nobody’s paying for power. Exactly how that will play out remains to be seen.

This technology is new to me… but seems breathtaking and loaded with opportunity.  Please send any thoughts, ideas, information or opinions you have.

Before you invest though, remember the golden rules of investing.

1. Money isn’t everything
2. Work only with people you like
3. Buy businesses, not stocks
4. Invest only in what you understand
5. Don’t over diversify
6. Keep looking for new opportunities
7. Buy businesses you plan to keep for life
8. Look for businesses that are available at a good price
9. Do what you like

Potential Ecuador Chaos

investing-in-chaos

The people of Ecuador are friendly and happy.

There is some potential for change in Ecuador that could benefit those moving and investing there.

First, let’s look at the cause of the turmoil.  A recent message entitled Investing Internationally shared news about the Ecuadorian government’s plan to take back a number of radio and TV frequencies stations. We promised to stay tuned to what happens and share observations and opinions from trusted sources in Ecuador about this.

Since that time, the Western press has published even more bad sounding news.

A recent AP article entitled “Ecuador Wants Citizen Committees To Defend Gov’t” said:  QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador wants to create local citizen committees that would defend the government and its “revolution” — sparking criticism that the president aims to control opponents in a system reminiscent of Cuba or Venezuela.

Citizen Participation Minister Doris Soliz told Ecuador TV on Thursday that local citizen groups are needed to defend against coups like the one that recently deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, or against outside agitators, noting U.S. military plans to use Colombian bases.

Other articles covered lots of rhetoric from Venezuela’s President about winds of war in the area (Chavez’s commenting on the announcement that the US would place military in Colombia).

Since the daily press distort, dramatize and magnify the negative; here are more comments from Ecuadorian business people with this comments.

Dear Gary: Sorry for the delay in my reply.  Correa is an unpredictable president.  On one hand he tries to emulate everything Chavez has done in Venezuela.  It is clear that Chavez gave him millions to finance his political campaigns and now he is obligated to do whatever Chavez wants.

On the other hand, he knows how far he can push the people of Ecuador.  If he is not careful, he can end up like Zelaya in Honduras.  I see strong confrontations coming if he tries to close radio and TV stations like Chavez did.

As you say in your reports.  We all need to be diversified in order to avoid problems in one place and not have anywhere to go in thing go bad.  I do believe the Ecuadorians are not as passive as the Venezuelans, and if Correa pushes too far he will find out. Let’s wait and see.

I agree with this reader. Ecuadorians are an independent people, and I have watched them (peacefully) oust a number of Presidents who abused their power.

Here is another opinion from one of my many sources.

Gary,  My comments are just some personal opinions and for that reason I prefer that I not receive any credit.   There is some noise going around that Correa wants to have “block leaders” who will report back to the government of any dissent. You can imagine what this means. Stifling dissent. It is a time to be careful and hope the Ecuadorian military remains faithful to the people of Ecuador. While there are so many needs and opportunities in Ecuador to be attended to, one could ask why does the president feel it is necessary to be out speaking of “winds of war blowing” against Colombia?
Anyway, it all comes with the territory of being in the Latin governmental world I suspect.  If the leaders were just humble people looking to improve the lot of their people instead of being megalomaniacs hell bent on being Castro or Hitler, life would be easier for all.

investing-in-chaos

Here are children in a parade in Cotacachi.

Readers should note that it was not Correa, Ecuador’s president who made the comment about Winds of War but Chavez of Venezuela. A lot of press makes it sound like Correa is much more closely aligned with Chavez than I believe he is.  Good or bad, I do believe that Correa is his own man and is pretty independent.

Here is another comment by an Ecuadorian with a great political and historical background.

Thanks for asking.  Correa. He is all right.  His big problem is being too young.  There is
a proverb in Spanish “mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo”.  (
The devil knows more because he’s old than because he’s the devil). That is Correa’s problem.  He is not old enough.  Velasco Ibarra who was president five times, was very much like Correa, when he was young. When he grew older he became much more sedated.

Again I agree with this. Everything I have seen has led me to feel that Correa has many good intentions and is trying to correct many wrongs and has a big job.  In his youth he may be too ambitious and impatient.  Time, inertia and politics should correct a lot of that!

Here are more comments.

He usually talks too much.  He talks every Saturday for 3 or 4 hours continuously.  It is not highly recommendable to quote him or mention his speech. Sometimes he just changes his mind. Or does not follow what he mentioned in the previous weekend.

That could describe more than one politician!

I have met the President a couple of times. He actually stopped next to us on the street at 9pm at night and met our son and was very sincere and asked what we thought about how things were here in Ecuador.  He is very headstrong, but I think that he is a very intelligent guy and he knows how to negociate  and what it is going to take for Ecuador to become a stable economy and that is with foreign investment and tourism.

Again this is the way I see it as well.

This is from a Quito businessman:

Dear Gary:  Many thanks for sharing the concerns some of your readers have about President Correa. I get some emails on the subject too.  I should start by saying that I am no fan of President Correa,  far from it. I don’t particularly like his discourse as if from the union trenches of the 60s and 70s.

Some of his economic policies seem to go counter current and his relative closeness with Chavez is a blemish.

Nonetheless, there are merits too, amongst which is great effort in improving education and health care. Also, in attempting to fix some wrongs and distortions we’ve had on several fronts.

In spite of Correa’s antics, Ecuador continues to offer, and perhaps more so than ever, rather remarkable opportunities for real estate investors, visitors and expats.

Let me explain:

The new, fresh-out-of-the-oven, Ecuadorian Constitution states, following with the tradition of the previous one, that foreigners have exactly the same rights as Ecuadorians under the law.

Furthermore, private property is protected under the law as one of the main pillars of our economy. Confiscation is prohibited and eminent domain (expropriation) situations are extremely rare, much less so than what they would be in Miami, London or Toronto for that matter.

While some people may believe that Correa is not particularly pro foreign investment, the reality is that Ecuador, just as the next country, needs investment to prosper and, hence, the President is very welcoming of it, he just demands responsible practices.

While the pitfalls of politics-as-usual and nationalistic grandstanding in Ecuador, can and does preclude some major investments from coming in (picture hydroelectric, oil exploration, etc), for most of us, of your readers Gary, this should not be a problem.

Regarding the Government’s stance towards foreigners coming to Ecuador and investing here, something quite nice and reassuring happened to me recently, which is telling about how reality differs from perception.

Here’s the story:

While working in the concept for a coastal development with international capitals and geared mostly towards foreigners, we realized that better government planning and zoning was needed in the area if we were to spread our wings the fullest.

I decided to call the Production Ministry, which is a high level coordination entity on top of many other ministries in Ecuador to see if they could perhaps give us some light as to getting some better zoning for the area.

I was immediately transferred to the head authority in charge of foreign investments in Ecuador and in a few hours was meeting with him along with other officers from the ministry he had called in.
They were not only incredibly welcoming of our ideas and concepts but asked us to create with them a road map not only for planning and zoning, but for infrastructure, education of the local community, and much more.

They have let me know that they are ready to lend a hand as needed and that when the time comes, once we have things down on a plan we can meet with the secretary of the ministry and even President Correa for further vision.

What is the reason for this incredible support? Well, that they are really pro investments and that when you want to do the right thing, doors become open.

On the subject of visas, something that concerns many foreigners, I can say that the President has prompted a very open regime for foreigners to come to Ecuador. However, some changes in the procedures are driving some of us nuts. We just have to adapt.

In any case, you can expect to get a resident visa in Ecuador in 3 to 6 weeks in most cases. The new director of Migration is quite a gentleman and very open and understanding. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

With regards to some radios being closed, this is something the President declared as a possibility on grounds that some radio frequencies had been granted with irregularities according to an audit. While the audit may be correct, President Correa does have a bitter quarrel with the press and his fixation with it is over the top now.

Getting back to real estate; I’d like to add that foreigners have been investing and buying real estate in Ecuador for some time, and that this is a trend that is seemingly quite on the rise.

I am seeing the start of a major wave here.

Ecuador has excellent real estate opportunities and values and the current international crisis where former “safe havens” have been shattered is making this truth about Ecuadorian real estate all the more compelling.

Investors into Ecuadorian real estate ought to buy soundly into capital preservation and important appreciation potential.

As final thoughts, given the current financial problems the world is seeing, the violence in Mexico fending off tourists and investors… the bursting of the real estate bubbles throughout, the baby-boomers coming of age with individuals lusting for active living with quality of life to boot, Ecuador is starting to make some tremendous sense to many.

Our President may be a bit of a showman (to put it somehow), granted; and we as a nation have a ways to go into maturity; we are rough around the edges, but we may have among the warmest, most welcoming people on earth, and no development can buy that.

We have good infrastructure and low cost of living. Those who see beyond the perception should be able to get in early on the trend, ride this major wave and make the best out of it.

These are good points… especially this one… the government may be talking one way or the other… but look at how it is acting. In this case it appears that the government is pro tourism… pro investment and is welcoming residents from abroad.

Here is one final comment.

Gary, I don’t get involved in my host country’s internal politics.  I am however a strong believer in the Open Society and the value of ideas meeting arguments, so I guess I would prefer more media outlets to fewer.  By the by, Ecuadorians I know say this is the first time they feel they cannot express freely what they feel about their government, for fear of repression.

These are two key points also. I do not get involved in politics anywhere.  My feeling is that time is better spent adapting to whatever the politicians do rather than joining into the political fray. Reality is that if you do business fair and well, whatever the political system is you’ll be welcome.  The second point is about freedom of speech.

I recall feeling fear like this recently when talking to my son over the phone. I was about to make a joke about a certain president and decided not to thinking… I had better not joke about this.  The problem was I was in the US… not Ecuador.

The great technology that has created such great access to information has destroyed our privacy as well…everywhere.

My new real estate acquisitions are in Ecuador . Recent messages have looked at the importance of seeing reality. People write often asking if it‘s safe in Ecuador. I was thinking of the reality of this as Merri and I concluded a long Ecuador morning walk. The birds were singing, roosters crowing in the distance and we saw two very young children, a girl of maybe six or seven and her little brother maybe four or five walking alone through the village on their way to school. This is so typical in Ecuador.

I wondered how many children of that age in North America are allowed to walk alone through town as they are in Ecuador.

investing-in-chaos

More Cotacachi children in a parade.

You see young girls like this (maybe eleven or twelve) walking around night and day. This is not because Ecuadorian parents are careless. It is because there is a great deal of safety in Ecuador .

Here are a few facts I know.

#1: The Ecuador constitution protects landownership of citizens regardless of citizenship. No local government can take land by eminent domain for economic development.

#2: No Ecuador children have been shot in school.

#3: Ecuador schools do not require metal detectors.

#4: No Ecuador police force has used a “no knock” search warrant to break down a door and then shoot an innocent 80+ year old resident 50 times.

#5: We do not worry in Ecuador about being sued if someone spills hot coffee on themselves at our hotel. By the way our coffee is hot here.

#6: Ecuadorian doctors do not have to shut down their practices because of malpractice insurance costs.

#7: Parents in Ecuador are not at risk of having their child diagnosed as having ADD and being forced to give them Ritalin. Read http://www.ritalindeath.com/ if you want to have your heart rendered over the weekend.

investing-in-chaos

There is a deep culture in Ecuador.

Back in early 2007, a potential real estate buyer visited me about buying a $93,000 house in Otavalo. As we enjoyed a “cuppa tea” and visited I could see he loved the house but was really worried about loss of property due to Ecuador’s constitutional reform.

My view was that the reform was unlikely to reduce individual land rights. As we can see above, the opposite took place. the constitution strengthened property protection.  Ecuador’s base of wealth has always been individual land ownership.

Then I pointed out to this potential buyer that his  real bigger risk was buying a similar three bedroom house in England. A similar house would cost him between $400,000 and a million dollars. The risk of losing $93,000 in value when the overheated English real estate market dips seemed greater to me than the chances of losing $93,000 in Ecuador because a house would taken due to constitutional change.

Prices were way overblown in England.  This was exactly what happened.  Real estate crashed in England while real estate prices in Ecuador have remained strong.

Plus Ecuador offers the benefits of $1.40 a gallon gas, lovely weather, sweet people, no capital gains tax on real estate sales, very inexpensive but good medical and dental help, ridiculously low property tax, almost no tort liability, inexpensive cost of living, low crime and better food.

In the west, the cost of living is so high that many people can barely move!

So where is it safe to live? I think when Merri and I are really realistic, we feel that there are many aspects of safety in Ecuador.

Many of us feel many changes in our homelands that are not good. If you do, don’t despair, the sun always shines somewhere as it did here in Cotacachi, Ecuador. Here’s the sun coming up!

Merri and I always practice diversification…in asset class as well as geographically.  We are over weighted in Ecuador so we are voting with our money that the chaos here will create more opportunity than trouble.

See more about Ecuador diversification here.

Change and chaos are parts of the rhythm of life.  The never ending evolution created by time and space creates turmoil but also opportunity.

We hope the chaos in your life brings only good to you.

Gary

Combining good international investing with the greatest asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live, brings everlasting wealth in chaos.

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.

See details of the two seminars below.

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM, our webmaster David Cross and me in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $300.

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Here is an email for a recent seminar delegate: Amazingly helpful, amazingly timely … thank you for this !

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + 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 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 for two.

Read the entire article New battery could change world, one house at a time