Tag Archive | "Argentina"

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

Ecuador Preconstruction Property


Here is an Ecuador beach preconstruction property.

ecuador-beach-property

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary

Learn about an Ecuador Southern Coastal Real Estate tour here.

Retire in Ecuador – Beat Inflation


A good reason to retire in Ecuador or away from your home is to beat inflation.

Yesterday’s message looked at reason why inflation is not a problem now… but it will be… probably in a serious way.

See below three ways to beat inflation.

First… live or retire in Ecuador or any country where the cost of living is low.

These nice houses in Cotacachi were offered at $49,000.  That beats inflation when you retire in Ecuador.

retire in ecuador

Costs are low. This fixer upper in Cotacachi has an asking price of $30,000 with…

retire in ecuador

a huge yard filled with mature fruit trees and…

retire in ecuador

this view.

Second, invest in land or commodities.

A long time friend Steve Rosberg whom I first met when he was my banker in Ecuador recently sent me this note as he operates a timber plantation and real estate development in Argentina.

Gary, During our visit to New York two weeks ago, a friend and former colleague from my banker days pointed out that Latin America had been the perfect training ground to succeed in the current investment environment. I agree 100%.

In case there was any doubt, California’s  issuance of IOU’s to settle short term debt was the final confirmation, and was rapidly followed up by other corollary events, such as banks stating that these could not be accepted as deposits. This would be obvious to anybody thinking about it, but apparently, most people weren’t.

Those IOUs are a different ‘currency.’ They are a currency which you will see more of in the future, as the issuer (the CA government) is still running deficit budgets, and no new voluntary lenders are rushing in to fund them.

Decidedly a  scenario familiar to those of us who have been through a number of LatAm crises. If an Argentine president tried to pass those IOU’s off, nobody would be foolish enough to take them in the first place, and the international press would ridicule the plan as another example of LatAm fiscal impropriety.

Meanwhile, the debate seems to rage between “Are we going deeper into recession? Are we going into high inflation? Are we going into stagflation?”

The answer is yes, absolutely!

How do we position our portfolios to make the best of this without taking on more downside risk?

This is the crux of why we have developed our business as we have:

– to have growth even if there is recession (the trees keep growing, the vineyard too),
– to have value even if there is high inflation (timberland, vineyard, hotel, all real, appreciating assets that will both protect the real value of your initial investment from inflation’s erosion and generate cash flows that will also increase in this scenario),
– to have current revenue originating in the sustainable production of real assets,
– to do so in environmentally responsible ways, and
– to enjoy what we are investing in.

In short, what you want now for the long run.

We continue to believe that debt free assets producing real commodities and generating solid returns are the antidote to portfolios stricken by the poor performance of supposedly safe, “mainstream” assets, and will continue to be so going forward.

Yes, we’re from Argentina, that means we’ve been preparing for these markets for decades. Our customers didn’t lose money last year-they made it.

Visit our website and write back for more information, it’s always our pleasure to be in touch with you.

With best wishes, Steve Rosberg  www.ushay.com

Third, invest in commodity based equities.

The excerpt below is from our Multi Currency course and shows why global inflation is a problem.

A recent article in the Economist showed that the US deficit could be three trillion dollars in 2010.   Half of this would come from borrowed funds.  Normally this would cause the US dllar to fall versus other currencies.

A free fall in purchasing power of all currencies is also more likely than in previous recessions (1970s and 1980s), because then, the US overspent but other major governments, especially Germany and Japan, were still conservative and fiscally prudent.

This is no longer true. West Germany unhinged fiscal common sense when it absorbed Eastern Germany.

Excerpts from a May 14, 2009 article in the Financial Times entitled “Germany set to suffer record deficit” by Bertrand Benoit says:

The German government will record its biggest post-war budget deficit this year as the economic crisis sends tax revenues plummeting, Peer Steinbrück, finance minister, said on Thursday.

Mr Steinbrück admitted the federal deficit would exceed €50bn in 2009 and rise to €90bn next year, more than twice the previous record of €40bn set in 1996 as Germany was absorbing the huge cost of its unification. In contrast, the federal deficit last year was only €11.9bn..

Germany and Japan have both been hit especially hard by this recession because their economies have been so dependent on exports and global trade.

Germany has a huge amount of short-time working and its exports have fallen dramatically.  Like almost everywhere, government income is dropping as spending is on the rise.

If the German economy were to continue to shrink at its current pace, it will be a 20% smaller by the end of 2009.

This means Germany remains in default (as does France, Italy and Spain) of the three per cent limit in the EU stability pact.

All eurozone countries, but especially those with larger deficits, such as Italy and Spain, face a similar problem…  rising costs… aging populations… growing pension and health costs while faced with reduced income.

Asia Troubled As Well

This year, Japan suffered its first annual trade deficit in nearly three decades and business has slowed dramatically there. Global demand for Japanese products plummeted in 2008 and exports were down 16% in the year to March 2009 compared to 2008.

Hong Kong’s economy gives a glimpse into China’s economic soul and here business also contracted at the fastest rate since the Asian financial crisis.

The first three months of 2009 had the biggest drop in more than half a century.

The Hong Kong government predicted that GDP would contract by up to 6.5 per cent in 2009.  Total exports dropped 22.7 per cent in the first three months of 2009 compared with the previous year – the biggest drop since 1954. Overall investment fell by 12.6 per cent and private consumption by 5.5 per cent. The unemployment rate also rose to a 38-month high of 5.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Huge Economic Problems

Huge economic problems create huge investment opportunity and one of the greatest problems facing the world is that education has not evolved as fast as democracy.  Too many poorly educated voters expect their government to do more than they can… or should.  The voter’s desires and expectations are ill informed and generally incorrect… yet their vote is as powerful as an educated one.

This forces politicians to act (spend) more than they have.  This tends to create inflation.   This rather predictable fact has become increasingly global so choosing a strong currency becomes increasingly hard.  Most currencies are at risk to inflation.

This is why stocks, commodities, real estate and your own business makes so much sense now.   There is a caveat.  Always invest in good value in these things.

This is why my attention was really captured when I read about the ALTIS Global Resources Fund.

This is a fund that invests in commodity backed equities and is advised by value guru Michael Keppler.

If you are a new reader learn about Keppler Asset management here.

This creates a powerful combination for opportunity.  The figures below support this.

Michael Keppler recent sent me this note:

Gary, Attached please find the latest Fact Sheet and Performance Review (as of April 30, 2009) for the ALTIS Fund Global Resources, a global sector fund we advise, which was featured in an e-fund journal report of May 4, 2009 as one of the “top 10 natural resource equity funds” based on its 5-year Sharpe Ratio calculated by Lipper.

This fund seeks long-term growth of capital by investing primarily in equity securities issued by companies located anywhere in the world with business operations in the energy, natural resources and precious metals sectors.

You can learn more about this share and read this entire multi currency report as a subscriber to our multi currency course.

Economic fundamentals suggest that the price for ending the current recession will be inflation.

Three ways to fight inflation are retire in Ecuador or some other country with a low cost of living or to invest in real estate, commodities or commodity based investments.

Gary

Join us at our North Carolina farm this July or October for our International business & investing seminars below. Learn more about how to fight inflation and retire in Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

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

Ecuador Risk


Ecuador has risks.

As does everywhere.  In fact our world has more risk then ever before.

ecuador-risk

Are quiet Ecuador streets like this Cotacachi avenue at risk?

ecuador-risk

The young Ecuadorian children who go to school early, alone don’t seem to feel much risk.  Yet?

Change creates risk and we live in an era of increasingly rapid change.

Those who welcome this fact are those who have the best chance of success. ahead.

This is the era of rapid change… the era of  extra risk.  The current time period within this era is of accelerated change and risk.

This is an important message about how to manage risk in Ecuador or anywhere.

ecuador-risk

Even young children play alone in the Cotacachi Ecuador streets without much risk

Yet we must always take care.

Take for example the US travel advisory for Ecuador… read  without perspective. Ecuador risk would seem high.

Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Ecuador:

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Quito advises caution when traveling to the northern border region of Ecuador, to include areas in the provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Carchi, northern Esmeraldas, and southern Esmeraldas, south of Atacames.  U.S. government personnel are under limitations with respect to traveling alone and over-nighting in these areas due to the spread of organized crime, drug trafficking, small arms trafficking, and incursions by various Colombian terrorist organizations.

CRIME:  Crime is a serious problem in Ecuador, and visitors should be alert and cautious.  Non-violent crime is common: hundreds of Americans are robbed every year in Ecuador.   Incidents of rape have increased, even in well-traveled tourists areas and when the victims traveled in groups for safety. Shootings, kidnappings, and carjackings are still relatively rare, but American citizens have been victimized by those crimes.  The Ecuadorian government has increased police patrols in tourist areas, but travelers should remain alert to their surroundings and maintain constant control of personal belongings.

Criminals sometimes use incapacitating drugs such as scopolamine on unsuspecting tourists in order to rob them.  These so-called date rape drugs are put into drinks in order to drug the unsuspecting victim.  This drug can render the victim disoriented and can cause prolonged unconsciousness and serious medical problems.  Never allow a stranger to “buy” you a drink and never leave your drink unattended.  Several American citizens have reported thefts of property following ingestion of such substances.

Does Ecuador sound risky?

Ecuador sounds risky until you read the travel advisory for Italy.  Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Italy:

Some travelers are victims of rape and beatings.  There are incidents of drinks laced with drugs being used by criminals to rob, and in some cases, assault tourists.  Many of these incidents occur in the vicinity of Rome’s Termini train station and at major tourist centers such as Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona, as well as in Florence and Naples.  Criminals using this tactic “befriend” a traveler at a train station, bus stop, restaurant, café or bar in tourist areas, then eventually offer a drink laced with a sleeping drug.  When the tourist falls asleep, criminals steal the traveler’s valuables.  There are also instances where the victim is assaulted, either physically or sexually.

Petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, theft from parked cars, and purse snatching are serious problems, especially in large cities.  Clients of Internet cafes in major cities are also targeted.  Tourists who have tried to resist petty thieves on motor scooters have suffered broken arms and collarbones.

The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian Law Enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices.

Organized criminal groups operate throughout Italy, but are more prevalent in the south.  They occasionally resort to violence to intimidate or to settle disputes.

Italy could seem risky as well until you read the travel advisory for Spain .  Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Spain.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:     Spain and Andorra share with the rest of the world an increased threat of international terrorist incidents.  Like other countries in the Schengen area, Spain’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity.  Spain’s proximity to North Africa makes it vulnerable to attack from Al Qaeda terrorists in the Maghreb region.  Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

In the deadliest terrorist attack in recent European history, in March 2004, Islamist extremists bombed four commuter trains entering Madrid, causing 191 deaths and over 1,400 injuries.  Spanish authorities tried the suspected terrorists and their co-conspirators in February 2007 and convicted in October 2007.

The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization remains active in Spain.  ETA has historically avoided targeting foreigners, directing their attacks against the police, military, local politicians, and Spanish government targets as well as attempts to disrupt transportation and daily life. However, foreigners have been killed or injured collaterally in ETA attacks.  Two examples of this are the Barajas Airport bombing in December 2006, in which two Ecuadorian nationals were killed and the bombing at the University of Navarre in October 2008, in which 17 students were injured including one American student.  In addition, bombs have been used as part of criminal extortion of businesses, particularly in the Basque region. The risk of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” in event of an ETA action is a concern for foreign visitors and tourists.  U.S. tourists traveling to Spain should remain vigilant, exercise caution, monitor local developments, and avoid demonstrations and other potentially violent situations.

Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.  Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of pick-pocketing, mugging and occasional violent attacks, some of which require the victim to seek medical attention.  Although crimes occur at all times of day and night and to people of all ages, older tourists and Asian Americans seem to be particularly at risk.  Criminals frequent tourist areas and major attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, outdoor cafes, Internet cafes, hotel lobbies, beach resorts, city buses, subways, trains, train stations, airports, and ATMs.

Thieves often work in teams of two or more people.  In many cases, one person distracts a victim while the accomplices perform the robbery.   Spanish authorities warn of the availability of so-called “date-rape” drugs and other drugs, including “GBH” and liquid ecstasy.  Americans should not lower their personal security awareness because they are on vacation.

We could go on… in Europe…  in Asia… or anywhere.

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Parents in Cotacachi Ecuador do not feel much risk when they let their children play in the parks.

Mostly, places are not the cause of risk.  The causes of risk  are within,  our awareness, our actions, our  patterns and habits.

If one becomes aware of change and adapts accordingly… there is no risk.  There is opportunity instead.

Early adapters are called risk takers.   They are not.

Real risk takers are those who do not  adapt because…  we know…  there is change.

The real risk is living by OLD rules in a NEW world.

The real risk is believing in General Motors for example… because it is the biggest… oldest… so it must be safest.

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Young lovers in Ecuador can meet safely in out of the way places.

The world is new every day and each day, some old rule no longer works.

The old rules used to say that the Western world was safe… and the emerging world riskier.   The old rules said that the Western world had low crime…  the emerging world had high crime.

Yet look at excerpts of a recent New York Times article entitled “Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid” by Solomon Moore (See a link to the entire article below) says:

One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008, according to a new study.

Criminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which quadrupled in the past two decades, according to the report Monday by the Pew Center on the States, the first breakdown of spending in confinement and supervision in the past seven years.

This suggests that the US has quite a lot of risk… both in crime and health.

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Ecuador people are by nature, caring, friendly and warm.

Sometimes I get letters like the one below from readers who have been victims of crime in Ecuador.  This reader lost her computer and camera when she forgot them in the business lounge at the Radisson hotel in Quito.

Dear Gary,  Can you believe, the Quito police, working with the Radisson hotel, found my  briefcase with the computer and other small items and had them sent by Federal Express to me.  I had provided them with the receipts of all the items stolen, for the items they were not able to send me  (camera and cellular phone) I was reimbursed via bank transfer. I still can’t believe it.  This was a good ending and so unexpected.  send you all love, and good thoughts. Laura

New rules about risk are being written every day and our daughter Francesca shared some thoughts on this when she recently visited us here.

Fran is quite a traveler.  Here early studies were in England… Gloucestershire and Birmingham.  Then she spent more for more than a year in Spain and Costa Rica, and moved to Naples and Delray, Florida which were bases for her to  manage real estate tours in Argentina, Belize, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay.

She worked for several years doing human rights training in Geneva, Switzerland before returning to get her Masters degree at London School of Economics.

Then  she worked in London for the Crown Agents where she was assigned
as a project manager and consultant to governments in Nigeria,  Peru, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

She has worked the last several years  as a development planning, monitoring & evaluation consultant in Swaziland and is returning there now on a contract with the United Nations.

As a young, single woman (now married) she has had to be aware of risks traveling everywhere from Florida to London to Lagos.

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Here I am with Francesca on her wedding day.

Fran & Sam rode to their reception in Richmond Park on a bicycle built for tow.

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Riding a bike through London traffic… now that is risky!

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Here are some common sense thoughts that Francesca shares about living with risk.

Living with Risk by Francesca Scott

We’re living in risky times; from the economic collapse, to swine flu, to erratic weather conditions.  It sometimes surprises me when people ask me if I’m not worried about living in Swaziland (my current home), because, they say, Africa is such a dangerous place.  I figure that when I return to London, my risk of being attacked in a terrorist attack skyrockets.  And I am still dumbfounded by the fact that children are screened for guns at schools in the United States.  By the way in England for the first time screening for knives has begun in some inner-city London schools.

The issue of risk came to mind recently, when I was visiting my Grandma. One evening over dinner, the discussion turned to the security situation in Swaziland, and I mused that in certain ways I feel safer in Swaziland than I do in parts of London. My Grandma commented that gangs were increasingly becoming a problem in Portland, her home city, and that she didn’t feel that safe these days.  The next day, as we stopped at the local bank, I was surprised by the thick wall of bullet proof glass completely separating the staff from the general public. They don’t have that in banks in London, or in Mbabane, Swaziland’s capital city.

I began thinking about how easily we adapt to different risks within our local environments. In many countries, one would be crazy not to have bars on lower windows. In central London, I hold my bag very close to my chest – I value my purse and cell phone too much. My mother-in-law, who lives in Australia, actually leaves her keys in her car when she stops at a store to pick up groceries (gasp!).  Sadly, I doubt that will last for much longer.   So does my Dad in NC.  They have a policy on the farm that all keys remain in all vehicles…just in case someone needs to jump in one!

Each country has a different risk profile, from pick-pockets, to pollution, to drug barons.  I am not saying that Swaziland does not have its dangers – my house has been broken into several times, and I drive much more defensively than I would in the US or the UK (mostly to avoid wayward cows that have drifted onto the road).  The important thing is to be fully informed about the risks.  This might sound obvious, but sometimes people are scared off by unfamiliar risks or misinformation.

It’s also worth remembering that there are often a variety of ways to mitigate those risks through effective prevention methods, so long as you know the rules. Most of us are guilty of exposing ourselves to unnecessary risk as a result of ignorance at one time or other, and are lucky that we’ve lived to tell the tell. I was threatened at knife point by a drug addict in a park in Spain, when I lived there as a student.  When I recounted my story to my Spanish roommate, she told me that I was a fool to be in that park in the first place, ‘…didn’t you know that it’s the favorite haunt for heroine addicts in the city?’  Well, no, obviously I didn’t know at that time, but it was a valuable lesson for me about the importance of knowing the rules.

I must admit to being a little scared before I went to Swaziland.  After all, it’s in one of the poorest parts of the world, and only three hours drive from Johannesburg, a gang-ridden, violent city. I also couldn’t shake off all those awful images of Africa I’ve seen on the evening news. I told myself that I would try it out for six months (I figured I could survive for that length of time in an underground bunker living off tinned corned beef and bottled water if it was that bad), and make a decision from there about whether or not it was for me. Two-and-a-half years later, I still thoroughly enjoy living here and am very glad that I resisted my initial anxieties.

For those considering buying property, or even moving to Ecuador, or any other country – developed, developing or downright poverty stricken for that matter – I would recommend to take the time to become fully informed about the types of risks you might face.  You can find out a lot from the internet and books, but it would be a shame to be scared off by some of what you read or by the well intentioned comments of a neighbor who hasn’t ever lived away from their home town.

Everyone comes from a different starting point, and everyone has a different risk threshold.

Also, the dramatic stories tend to be more interesting to tell.  While reading around can certainly offer you a variety of different and valuable viewpoints, it’s also important to talk to people who have lived in the country. Locals can be an invaluable source of information, while ex-pats may be more appreciative of the kinds of risks unanticipated by a foreigner, risks that may seem glaringly obvious to a local. Also, find out what you can do to mitigate those risks. Often you can reduce your exposure significantly using the appropriate precautions. If you think that the benefits outweigh those risks, then go down and check out the country for yourself.  That’s the only way you can really know if the level of risk is one that you could tolerate.

It might be that the risks are in some countries and in some places, in fact, just too high, pushing you beyond your comfort zone, or that the restrictions necessary to reduce your risks would make you feel stressed and claustrophobic. It’s no fun lying restless at night at night because you’re worried over a break-in, even though you have an alarm, or resent the lack of privacy from having a guard permanently outside your house. If you’re looking for the exact replica of your own community, with the same level of risk, and a Starbucks around the corner thank you very much, then somewhere like an emerging country really may not be for you. There will inevitably be new and different risks in poorer countries, some to which you, as a foreigner, could be at much higher risk than a local.

But take a moment to reflect on the risks that you face in your daily environment back home, and you might find that such risks are relative. While some risks will be new when you move abroad, you will also leave some behind. Therefore, before making any decision of moving to a country other than your own, I recommend making sure that you are informed by the reality on the ground, not some misconception fed by the media or well-intentioned homebodies. Only with that information can you gauge whether you’ll be comfortable with the type and level of risk you might face. For an adventurous soul, you may well find that the benefits of living in a new culture, the fun of exploring a foreign terrain, make everything worthwhile.

Risk assessment is a vital part of survival and success in today’s world.

This has always been true so always consider risk… but when you evaluate danger… don’t  just look at the places where you will be.   Review your thinking, your habits and patterns to see how you can turn risk into opportunity.

Gary

Join us here at our hotel Meson de las Flores.  Learn more turning risk into opportunity at our courses and tours.

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June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

See the entire article Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/us/03prison.html

Ecuador Beach Property – Jama


Yesterday’s message began a series on Ecuador beach property because I believe there is extra value on the beach now due to  rumors that have scared some buyers away.

Looking beyond the rumor allows us to take advantage of the truism, “Buy on the rumor and sell on the news.”

This provides us with extra opportunity and life on a beautiful beach like this.

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Ecuador beach north of Bahia.

One recent rumor came from a BBC  article entitled “Americas on alert for sea level rise” by James Painter the 
BBC Latin America analyst.

Excerpts of the article say:

Coastal areas in parts of Mexico are among those under threat

Climate change experts in North and South America are increasingly worried by the potentially devastating implications of higher estimates for possible sea level rises.

The Americas have until now been seen as less vulnerable than other parts of the world like low-lying Pacific islands, Vietnam or Bangladesh.

But the increase in the ranges for anticipated sea level rises presented at a meeting of scientists in Copenhagen in March has alarmed observers in the region.

Parts of the Caribbean, Mexico and Ecuador are seen as most at risk. New York City and southern parts of Florida are also thought to be particularly vulnerable.

This sent shivers up the spine of many investors who had been thinking about buying on Ecuador’s coast.   That is because they did not read the entire article.

Further on the article says:

According to a recent World Bank study of more than 80 developing countries, Ecuador features among the top 10 countries likely to be most affected by sea level rise when calculated as a percentage of its GDP.

Argentina, Mexico and Jamaica also appear in the top 10 when measured by the impact of a one-metre rise on agricultural lands.

This makes Ecuador’s beaches to sound vulnerable until you read on where the article says:

New research led by Dr Jianjun Yin at Florida State University suggests that whereas South American coastal cities are not at threat this century from an extra sea level rise caused by Amoc, New York City and the state of Florida are.
The coastal plains around the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador, the country’s main economic hub, are also known to be vulnerable to a combination of sea level rises, storms and sea surges.

A recent study by researchers at Espol, a science institute in Guayaquil, suggested that even a half-metre sea level rise would put the storm drainage system in the southern part of the city under severe strain, possibly causing it to collapse.

The concern about Ecuador’s coast is the rumor.  Here is the news.  Guayaquil… which is inland  is at risk… a huge economic problem yes… but not for the Ecuador beach cities.  Should these rising water problems come true… the coastal cities in Ecuador may become even more important and valuable.

Do not get me wrong… global warming may be a huge problem everywhere… but may not be  a concern in our life times on Ecuador’s coast.  In fact as higher water driving people from Florida and Guayaquil could create opportunity for Ecuador beach property. I have put the address of the entire BBC article at the end of this message.

I am adding a stronger buy signal for Ecuador beach property and this week we are running a series looking at Ecuador beach areas from Salinas to Esmeraldas as shown on an excerpt of this Ecuador map.

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Those who have been reading our messages for any length of time know that I have focused my efforts on the middle portion of Ecuador’s beach from Manta to Bahia in the province of Manabi.

You can see why I consider Manta the key to Ecuador beach growth here.

I checked water levels carefully before buying here. Last year before construction began, there were record rains. Much of Ecuador’s coast looked like this.

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The land where the condos were to be built looked like this.

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Here are the condos there now.

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See why I like these San Clemente beach condos any why I have invested in here.

However there are many other great Ecuador beach areas I would like to share so I asked a few of the many contacts I have made, up and down the coast, to tell us more about the beaches where they are in Ecuador.

Today we look north of San Clemente from Bahia… north with an article by Gary Swenson an American who lives in this area with his family and brother Larry.

Bahia North by Gary Swenson

I have been an adventurer all of my life. Driving race cars all over the world for a living and traveling the Pacific for four years with my sailboat.

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Gary Swenson’s  race car.

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Gary Swenson’s sailboat.

I found Ecuador on that four year Pacific sailing adventure.  I had visited many countries in my work and exercising my passion. The people here made me feel like family. I have been here now for 8 years. We have been investing in North Coastal real estate for 7 of those 8 years, and have close to 30 properties on the beach. Some with a quarter acre, and some with as much as one mile of beachfront.

I have walked close to 50 miles of beachfront myself, searching for the most beautiful pieces, and as a bonus have also found many pre-Colombian artifacts just lying on the beach!

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Treasures found on the beach.

I have concentrated on the North Coast for one main reason, and that is that it is the last area of the coast of Ecuador that was mainly undeveloped, somewhat inaccessible, and the prices affordable. That is all changing right now! Many properties that I have purchased now have new coastal highways and roads being built right past them as they open up this coast. This area is slowly being found out by Ecuadorians, foreign retirees and investors alike.

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New road construction near Bahia.

The President of Ecuador knows that tourism is a big part of the future here and is spending the money necessary to develop the coastal areas.

One of the largest developments in Ecuador is on the North Coast and largely unknown to the rest of the outside world is in Same (pronounced saw may). It is a sleepy tourist town (true for most of the North coast) that wakes up during Ecuadorian holiday times and vacation times for the kids from Quito.

It is only 30 minutes from the Esmeraldes airport. Years ago Esmeraldes was a wild place and somewhat dangerous, but that was years ago. I find it safe and friendly, with better roads and infrastructure that is better than most of the rest of Ecuador.

There are also other well developed areas such as Atacames (pronounced otta-calm-es), Sua (Sue-ah), Pedernales with high rise condos and hotels.

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Then there are hidden gems like, Cojimies with miles of coconut plantations lining the beaches, Mompiche, Estero De Platino and Canoa with great surfing, and Jama/ElMatal for kite boarding, river rafting, and just relaxing if you like.

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More Ecuador beach north of Bahia.

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Sunny and underpopulated.

Bahia De Caraquez with a laid back Mediterranean feel and an international Marina, great schools and theater.

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Bahia.

This coast has great diversity and friendly people where you can walk most beaches any time of the day or night safely. With your choice of miles of virgin beachfront to choose from.

This is paradise!

This North coast also has many mini climates from a dry tropical climate equal to Santa Barbara, California in the spring with no humidity to a more lush semi wet tropical, lush green terrain all year long.

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Lush beaches

There are also a few larger towns with night life, restaurants, hotels and touristy things do do in between the many friendly small towns with just a restaurant and hostel.

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Gary Swenson and his son Archie on the beach.

Here you can find whatever type of beach that you would like to live on. From high banks with a bird’s eye view overlooking miles of coastline while watching the whales and dolphins play in the swells, or fishing, to low lying sandy beaches that you can walk and wiggle your toes in for miles!

Yes, you can find what your heart desires here.

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Gary Swenson fishing.

To get to the Bahia area you fly into Quito and take a short 1/2 hour flight to the Manta airport and then a 1 hour taxi or bus ride to Bahia.

To Esmeraldes it is a half hour flight from Quito. The airport in San Vicente is in the middle of a dispute with the city and is supposed to be resolved this year and restart flights from Quito.

I have eaten at just about every restaurant in Bahia, San Vicente, Canoa, Jama, and others further north and rarely have a bad meal! The average cost of a lunch (almuerzo) including fresh seafood, chicken or meat, small salad, rice, beans, soup of the day, and fruit juice is between $1 and $2, and the food and juice is all fresh! Nothing out of a can here. The population of Bahia and the surrounding areas is around 20,000 but you would never know it as it is a tourist town and only fills on some weekends and holidays.

The weather from San Clemente/Bahia to just north of Pedernales is a dry tropical climate and is similar to the climate of south central California in the spring/early summer. It averages 75 to 80 degrees and very low humidity, and a nice sea breeze for 7 months a year. We have 2 months that they call the rainy season that we have a 1 or 2 hour rain at night maybe twice a week. Very seldom does it rain during the day. This time of the year it averages 80 to 95 degrees and is slightly more humid. Then there is what the locals call summer when the temperatures are 70 to 75 degrees every day and mostly cloudy with a little afternoon sun. It could be true that Ecuador has the best climate in the world!

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Ecuador beach sunset near Jama.

I believe in Ecuador, and the future holds many good things here for the people that have a little adventure in their souls.  Gary Swenson

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Gary Swenson’s family on the beach.

You can learn more about this area from Gary Swenson at www.ecuadorbeachfront.com

or email lswenson@bendcable.com

Gary Swenson and his brother, Larry, own an Ecuador beach development at Coco Beach Village.

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Gary & Larry Swenson’s project.

They have a gated community of 1/4 acre beachfront lots with homes that start at $99,000 with underground utilities, tennis courts, swimming pool, clubhouse.  This is in the friendly Jama/El Matal  community on Ecuador’s beach.

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Your own hammock near Jama.

Until next message, good global investing.

Gary

Our 2-4-1 offer expires in three days.

Join us and visit Ecuador beach property with our 2-4-1 tours this May and July.

See great May Ecuador airfares here.

We have three Ecuador tours scheduled for May and July 2009.

Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour May 16-17

Imbabura-Cotacachi Real Estate Tour May 20-21

Ecuador Amazon Herbal Tour May 22-24

Merri and I will not be on these tours but we do want to meet you. So to make sure we can meet, we will let you attend these either one of the May real estate tours free if you enroll in one of our three International Made EZ  courses, in July, October or November.

You get two courses for the price of one.  Enroll in any of these courses that Merri and I will conduct below and choose either May real estate tour free.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

You can enroll in one, two or three of these courses below

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

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

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

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

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

Our 2-4-1 offer expires at midnight April 30, 2009.

See the entire BBC article Americas on alert for sea level rise at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7977263.stm

Ecuador Flower Income


Here is a way to earn income and help the environment and the poor… with Ecuador flowers.

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Our last three messages have looked at advice from billionaires Warren Buffet, Li Ka-Shing and T. Boone Pickens on how to use this economic correction to create wealth.

Here are quotes from another billionaire… Geroge Soros  who said:

Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected.

This is why the current market downturn creates opportunity.   Changes in the  socio-economic paradigm create new unexpected opportunity.  As the establishments crumble, new opportunities are created.

This makes life really exciting (and lucrative) for the business pioneers who accept and embrace change.  Merri and I feel this way every day and hope to share the excitement and opportunity with you.

Soros also said:

I think there’s a lot of merit in an international economy and global markets, but they’re not sufficient because markets don’t look after social needs.   I’m not doing my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or any need to create good public relations. I’m doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.

Merri and I could not agree more.  We have been involved in international business for 40 years, but became involved with Land of the Sun Foundation (LOTS) because we want to help the poor beyond business..

Soros’s final sage comment is: The worse a situation becomes the less it takes to turn it around, the bigger the upside.

There are several ways to take advantage of the current economic situation… invest in stocks… real estate… commodities or  to have or start your own business.

This is why I am writing this series on Ecuador business ideas and have focused on the environment and using organic products which helps all three of the problems above.

This is also why we have for the past two years been offering Ecuador roses to help LOTS.

Now we have combined a way for our readers to develop extra income and help the indigenous poor with Ecuador flowers.

Robert Ribadineira, our flower supplier,  has now created a Fresh Flower Party Plan for flowers that can help you earn income as you help the poor.

Party plans have been  a highly successful way to introduce new ideas by displaying and demonstrating a product to those gathered at a party.

Roberto’s Premium Flower Party not only develops income potential and helps the poor but also helps resolve a huge problem that the economic downturn has created in the US.

The problem is that in the last two years nearly 30% of America’s florists have gone out of business.

It is harder and harder to get fresh premium quality flowers.  The new paradigm is that low quality, short lived cut flowers now rule the market.

Roberto’s  Premium Flower Party creates a new, fun and fulfilling way for Americans to have top quality fresh flowers in their homes.

The party plan originated with the  Tupperware company in the early 1950s. Tupperware’s success was widely copied and the idea hosting a social event in homes to demonstrate a product has become a popular and proven business model that combines fun and personal customer service.

Party plans have been used to sell items such as kitchen products, home decor, jewelry, skincare and cosmetics.

Yet fresh premium quality flowers have never been marketed via a party plan…until now.   The demise of so many florists and new three day Fedex delivery capabilities have made the Premium Flower Party a logical entry in the new economic paradigm.

Here is a note that Roberto sent to me.

“Gary, The program will begin as follows. I expect some small changes as we evolve and adjust to circumstances.

Leather Leaf Fern

Ecuador-flowers

We can provide our party hostesses with a nice variety of flowers.

COMBO 1

1-      100 roses with 4 different colors all of the same tone (ex: pinks, pinks bicolors), or 4 different colors of different tones $90
2-      10 bunches of leather leaf $61.53
3-      12 bunches of hypericum $93.36
4-      This will make 25 arrangements  with 4 roses,  4 leather leafs and 4 hypericum in each bouquet.

Hypercium

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COMBO 2

Gypsophylia (Baby’s Breath)

ecuador-flowers

1-      100 roses with 4 different colors all of the same tone (ex: pinks, pinks bicolors), or 4 different colors of different tones $90
2-      12 bunch of gypso (baby´s breath) $85,88
3-      12 bunch of daisy assorted $73,68
4-      This will make 25 arrangements with 4 roses with 4 gypso and 2 daisy in each bouquet.

Daisy

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COMBO 3

1-      100 roses with 4 different colors all of the same tone (ex: pinks, pinks bicolors), or 4 different colors of different tones $90
2-      25 stems of oriental lilies $55.75
3-      12 bunch of alstromerias assorted $91.68
4-      This will make 25 arrangements of 4 roses with 1 oriental lily and 4 alstromeria on each bouquet.

Alstromerias

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Last year Merri surprised me on Father’s Day not with roses but 25 fresh Ecuador Lilies! I was thrilled at their beauty, aroma and endurance. Here are those Ecuador lilies in our home.

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The arrangements are the freshest premium quality flowers.

The can be sold at the Premium Flower Party at $19.99, a price that  is very hard to duplicate. Selling 25 bouquets at the party creates an income of $499.75 or double the cost of the flowers.

The fun is that each person makes their bouquet at the party!

We will provide a pamphlet for each customer with instructions on how to take care of flowers and 25 packs of flower food, plus a DVD that shows how to make the flower arrangement.

We plan to offer a different bouquet every two weeks so hostesses can even create a Premium Flower Party Club so guests come twice a month to make their bouquet and take it to their home.

The party hostess can also become a florist and take special orders between each party.

Each host or hostess can determine how much he or she would like to contribute to Land of the Sun Foundation… $20 or more.

Regards, Roberto

The really good news is that Ecuador flowers and roses are truly the best because there is 365 days a year of direct sunlight.

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We have roses everywhere in our hotel. In the court yard where we dine.

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In the rooms.

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In the hallways.

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Even in…

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our food displays.

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The Premium Flower Party is a good way to earn income for those who like flowers… like parties… and want to work from home.

George Soros had written a  fascinating book entitled, “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets”.  This book explains that the next generation will have to understand bubbles rather than ignore them.  He is a deep thinker with ideas several decades ahead of his time.

The flowers delivered are environmentally friendly and fair trade flowers.

Roberto’s Fresh Flower Party Plan is an idea who time has come and you can contact Roberto at roberto@webflowermarket.com

Until next message, may all your income be good and come with care.

Gary

To help you learn how to earn income anywhere,  I am making a special offer with two days to go. (I have extended this two days due to our web site problem).

You can have the “The Tangled Webs We Weave”…our course on how to have a Web Based  Business… FREE..

I launched this course earlier this year and am making a special offer…that gives you this course free…and more.

Now you can learn everything that I do to create income and have fun and fulfillment in a web based micro business.  Here is a  special offer.

This new course entitled “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Internet Business” is available at $299.

This is a bargain. Merri and I have been traveling and doing international business for 41 years. We have had a web based business for over ten years. You can share everything we have learned.

However when you sign up for Tangled Web in March 2009, I’ll include two of my other emailed courses, How to be a Self Publisher and International Business Made EZ  FREE as well.

PLUS…

My webmaster is joining Merri and me at our two North Carolina courses this year for our first Tangled Web seminars.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

If you have ordered Tangled Web, I will reduce any of these course fees by $299!

In all you receive the emailed “Tangled Web” course, International Business Made EZ” and “How to be a Self Publisher”,  FREE when you enroll in either the July, October or November seminar.

Enroll here $299

or enroll for any of the three courses above. I’ll send all three emailed courses free right away.

We provide our standard, full guarantee. Enroll.  Try the course for 30 days. If not satisfied we’ll give you an immediate, full… no fuss refund.  This offer expires at midnight April 3, 2009.

What delegates say about our courses.

“Gary & Merri We enjoyed our adventures with your tours this month and plan to make Ecuador a part-time residence as a result; after spending time on our month-long odyssey in Argentina, Uruguay, Panama and Ecuador.  Our best to you and Merri

Ecuador Quinoa Recipe


Ecuador quinoa recipes are a specialty of our chef, Santiago, at our hotel Meson de las Flores.

Here is Santiago with a quinoa cake he often bakes to welcome our course delegates to Ecuador.

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Santiago and Meson will be on Ecuador’s national TV March 9th.

Ecuador’s rich soil, 365 a days of sun adds to the nutrition of the food grown here.

Ecuador-quioa-recipe

Quinoa is one Andean food, a high protein grain…the only complete vegetable protein. Here is quinoa in the field…

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and harvested.

Ecuador-quioa-recipe

Quinoa is a high protein replacement for rice or most cooked cereals.

Nicki Goff, a good friend, neighbor of ours in Cotacachi and  a graduate of our publishing course, just wrote about quinoa.

First, she wrote this:

Gary, Your writing course is being put to good use! I’ve articles on ezinearticles.com as well as hubpages so far, trying to make one post
per day. My plans are to continue writing, with a blog in the near
future focused on all aspects of healthy diet.

I loved reading this.  You can get this writing course free when you subscribe to our internet course, Tangled Web.  Learn how to enroll here

See how to have the $299 Tangled Web course free also below.

Here are excerpts from Nicki’s Quinoa article.

Introduction to Quinoa

Quinoa (keen-wah) has its origins in the high upper Andes. The Incas credited quinoa with medicinal and magical properties, and held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as “chisaya mama” or “mother of all grains”. The Inca emperor would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using ‘golden implements’. It has been in continuous cultivation in Colombia. Ecuador. Peru, Bolivia. Chile and Argentina for over 6000 years. Both the seeds and the young leaves can be used as food.

During the European conquest of South America quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as “food for Indians,” and its cultivation and use was actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous ceremonies. Today, it is returning to commercial favor as a grain in these countries, although it still shares first place with corn as the primary indigenous grain.

Quinoa is close to being a perfect food source in the balance of nutrition it provides. Not a grain but a seed, quinoa is related to the leafy vegetables, Swiss chard and spinach.

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein – 12% to 18%, one of the best sources of complete protein in the vegetable kingdom. Quinoa is a source of all essential amino acids, including the amino acid lysine which helps the body produce protein. Lysine also helps the body process the protein in the quinoa and in other foods. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products.

Quinoa is a great source of B vitamins, potassium and riboflavin. It’s also a good source of zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin E and fiber.

Mango Quinoa Salad

This is my all-time favourite quinoa recipe. It serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main dish.

* 1 cup quinoa
* 2 cups water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 mango
* 1/2 cup cucumber
* 1/4 cup blanched almonds
* 2 tablespoon roasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:

* 1 teaspoon Ghee (clarified butter)
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 lime or half a lemon, juiced
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash quinoa and boil in water for 10 minutes, Let sit until quinoa absorbs all the water. Fluff with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.

Peel the mango and cut into cubes. Dice the cucumber, and add to mango along with the almonds and pumpkin seeds.

To make the dressing, heat Ghee in a small pan and fry with turmeric for 30 seconds, then let it cool. Add the lemon or lime juice. Mix in olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Add the cooled quinoa to the mango mixture, pour the dressing over the salad, and toss.

Chilean Quinoa Tabouleh

* 2 cups Quinoa
* 4 cups water
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
* 2 tsp minced garlic
* 1 cup fresh corn kernels, cooked
* 1 cup finely chopped red onion
* 4 plum tomatoes cut into (1/2-dice)
* 1 cup diced (1/2 inch) cucumbers
* 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

Place Quinoa in a medium-sized pan, add the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. The Quinoa should be translucent. Remove from heat and fluff it with a fork. Transfer the Quinoa to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.

Sprinkle the quinoa with the salt and pepper and stir, folding from underneath the grains. Fold in 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the oil. Gently fold in the cilantro and garlic. Toss the avocado with remaining tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Fold the corn, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado into the Quinoa. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve at room temperature within 2 hours of preparation. Serves 8 to 10.

You can read Nicki’s entire article on quinoa with more recipes including Quinoa Salad Pita Pockets and Crunchy Quinoa Peanut Butter Cookies.

Quinoa is also great with fruit and we have just about every kind here in Ecuador.

Ecuador-quioa-recipe

Almost all of the time most fruits are really ripe…

Ecuador-quioa-recipe

These are some shots I took at the daily Cotacachi market.  I large bag of pears is $1.

Ecuador-quioa-recipe

These huge, syrupy mangos maybe 25 cents each.

Ecuador-quioa-recipe

Huge papays $1.

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and tropical fruits I cannot even name…but…

Ecuador-quinoa-recipe

each is fresh, ripe and delicious.

I think many of our delegates come here just to eat!

Until next message, may all of your food be healthy and a treat!

Join us in Cotacachi or the coast for our March or June tour.

Enjoy the holidays festivities in March.

Ecuador-beach-river-property

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

March 16-19 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

On the import-export course we’ll look at hundreds of Ecuador crafts.

Ecuador-beach-river-property

We’ll visit properties for sale like this excellent hotel with huge gardens in central Otavalo.

Ecuador-beach-river-property

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

We’ll enjoy numerous shamanic ceremonies.

Ecuador-beach-river-property

On the real estate tours you’ll see property available nowhere else because sellers come to us first since we charge no commissions.  Here is one of the Vistaazul condo blocks.  totally purchased by our readers at a rock bottom price because they were sold without commission.

Ecuador-beach-river-property

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

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

We have great social times n our tours as well.  Delegates love sharing with one another. Here is one of our groups enjoying a coffee break in the courtyard of Meson de las Flores.

Ecuador-beach-river-property

Future 2009 Ecuador courses:

Get our web based course FREE if you join us in Ecuador this March or June.

This new course entitled “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Internet Business” is available at $299.

This is a bargain. Merri and I have been traveling and doing international business for 41 years. We have had a web based business for over ten years. You can share everything we have learned for just $299.

However if you sign up for any three of our in person courses below, you can have The Tangled Web course free.

Enroll here $299

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

Ecuador Bond Default


Today, December 15, 2009, we’ll know for sure if Ecuador has defaulted on some of its bonds. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa threatened to do this once before…and did not.

This time I believe he will.

This will be good…for many…because despite the default, Ecuador’s sun will not go away.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will the beauty of Ecuador’s mountains like this one we climbed.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will it stop the smiles of Ecuador’s happy people like these potato farmers we met on the hike.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will the hard working energy of the crafts people in town like Otavalo (shown here) cease.

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Nor the richness of the land like this Intag forest go away.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will the wonder of the longevity valleys like this Intag plain end.Ecuador-bond-default

Ecuador’s bond default may create profits in two ways….one in the global bond market. The other gain will be in Ecuador.

Many readers have sent me a link to last week’s Bloomberg December 12, 2009 article by Stephan Kueffner which says:

Correa Defaults on Ecuador Bonds, Seeks Restructuring.  Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa halted payment on foreign bonds he calls “illegal” and “illegitimate,” putting the South American country in default for a second time in a decade.

The government won’t make a $30.6 million interest payment by Dec. 15, when a month long grace period expires, Correa told reporters in his office in Guayaquil. The $510 million bonds due in 2012 plunged to 23 cents on the dollar from 31 yesterday and 97.5 cents three months ago.

“I have given the order that interest payments not be made,” Correa said. “The country is in default.”

Though Ecuador is a small country, the size of France, with about 11 million people, its bond default may slow the recovery of the bond market during this global economic downturn.

Latin Bonds already have strong yields.  Look at the high yields on medium term denominated in US euro and US dollars!

Currency   Bond                Country             Yield

EUR     8.5  24/09/2012     BRAZIL             7.49%

EUR     7.375 03/02/2015   BRAZIL            8.38%

EUR     11.5   31/05/2011   COLOMBIA      8.17%

EUR     5.375 10/06/2013   MEXICO           7.28%

EUR         7.5  14/10/2014  PERU               9.02%

USD        10.25 17/06/2013 BRAZIL           6.24%

USD     8.25 22/12/2014      COLOMBIA     7.42%

USD     9.875  06/02/2015    PERU             7.57%

Ecuador owes about $10 billion to bondholders, multilateral lenders and other countries…not a lot by global standards…but  Ecuador’s bond default could cause a ripple down in Latin bonds and create even higher yields.  If so, I’ll buy some today.

The bonds and yields above are from Jyske Bank’s bond list of last Friday. These are indications not recommendations.    You can get up-to-date bond information from:

US investors at Jyske Global Asset Management.  Contact Thomas Fischer at fischer@jgam.com

Non US Investors at Jyske Bank. Contact  Rene Mathys at mathys@jbpb.dk

The next opportunity is in Ecuador. Many readers have asked questions like:

Ecuador is defaulting on its bonds. Any problems because of this? Is this good or bad?

This is a question much like, “Is the US federal $800 billion bail out, good or bad?”

The answer is yes and no.

First, remember that Ecuador defaulted on bonds once before in 1999.   Everything fell apart. Bank’s shut down. The country ran out of gas.  Times were terrible.

The country remained a great place to live. The cost of living collapsed. Help was easy to get. You could buy real estate for a song. So the answer to “Is this good or bad?” depends on who you are, how much money you have and where it is invested.

The Bloomberg article points out that Correa says of the default:

“I couldn’t allow the continued payment of a debt that by all measures is immoral and illegitimate,” Correa said. “It is now time to bring in justice and dignity.”

A debt commission Correa formed last year said in a 172 page report in November that the global bonds due in 2012 and 2030 “show serious signs of illegality,” including issuance without proper government authorization. Correa invoked the 30- day grace period on the interest payment last month, saying he wanted to analyze the commission’s findings.

Correa, 45, said the government will present a restructuring proposal in coming days. “We want creditors to recoup part of their money,” he said.

Personally I think this is true, but is the wrong approach.  I have long been a defender of Correa.  He is much like Barrack Obama, young, smart, energetic, from a poor background, who worked his way to the top with a mandate made possible by minorities….based on promises that probably cannot be kept.

He is trying to make improvements..but can he?

Obama cannot change the previous American debt and some of that US debt, in my opinion, is as immoral and illegitimate as can be.  If previous Ecuadorian politicians broke the law and created incorrect loans…Correa and the people of Ecuador should punish them.  They should recoup what they can from those people…but to punish lenders will simply stop lenders from lending to Ecuador.   This will hurt the nation, long term, as a whole.

The Bloomberg article goes on to say:

“Ecuador is moving further into isolation,” said Vicente Albornoz, head of the Cordes research institute in Quito. “The hardliners in the government won.”

“Ecuador is a serial defaulter,” said Arturo Porzecanski, an international finance professor at American University in Washington. “They defaulted in the 1980s, 1990s and this decade. A lot of other countries have had one or two defaults, but Ecuador tops them all.”

Correa, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has said he will not sacrifice spending on health and education to pay the debt. Ecuador’s foreign obligations are equal to 21 percent of its $44 billion gross domestic product. Argentina’s debt, by comparison, was equivalent to 150 percent of its GDP when it defaulted in 2001, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Oil, which has plunged 67 percent since July amid the global financial crisis, accounts for about 60 percent of Ecuador’s exports. Finance Minister, Maria Elsa Viteri, said on Nov. 18 the country’s fiscal accounts remain “strong and healthy.” Ecuador had $5.65 billion in cash reserves as of Dec. 5, according to the Central Bank.

The default was triggered by the combination of the decline in oil with “a ridiculous ideology,” said Claudio Loser, the former director of the International Monetary fund’s Western Hemisphere department, who now is a scholar at the Inter- American Dialogue. “The financial need wasn’t so great that it was forced to declare a default,” Loser said.

The South American country has defaulted six times since it separated from Gran Colombia in 1830, according to “Debt Defaults and Lessons from a Decade of Crises,” a book published in 2007 by Federico Sturzenegger and Jeromin Zettelmeyer.

“It’s a final blow to external investors, and particularly any energy investors that may have retained interest or had future plans to attempt an investment in Ecuador,” said Enrique Alvarez, head of Latin America fixed-income research at IDEAglobal Inc. in New York.

I believe this default will hurt Ecuador’s overall economy…and help expats who live and invest there in small ways. When economic conditions drop, prices become lower. Labor is easier to find. Everyone is more willing to serve and work hard…if you have money.

Merri and I were living in Ecuador when the sucre collapsed falling from 3,000 sucres per dollar to 24,000 sucres per dollar. This roller coaster reduced the cost of food, clothing, shelter, staff, everything local. Wages were down. Bargains were everywhere!

Merri and I were loved because we stayed. We spent. We provided jobs.

Life can actually be better in hard times…especially if you have your income and investments OUT of the depressed country.

There is a caveat. If conditions deteriorate too far, law and order can break down.  Short term this will make Ecuador’s life better. They won’t have the loan to repay…but long term, as they become more isolated from the global economy, this will hurt.

Ecuadorians are basically friendly, non violent people so I do not have any great concern about this. This is based on experience. I have lived in places where people were not quite as easy going, like Hong Kong in the 1960s when there were riots and bombing in the streets.

My belief if that Ecuador will remain a great place to be…especially for now.

Gary

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

We’ll view this hotel if it has not sold. It has a huge front porch.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Large second floor veranda with ocean views.

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Beautiful flowered front yard.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.

We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. If you subscribe, you can have this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

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

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

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

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

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

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual
transportation.

Ecuador Kindness


Ecuadorian people are kind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ecuador-project

Andres just sent me this note.

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

A river runs through it.

Ecuador-Project

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

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

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

Ecuador-project

Click here to visit the Arboretto Master Plan and website.

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

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

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

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

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

Warmest regards, Andrés.”

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

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

Gary

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

instead of hiking in the ice and cold…

Ecuador-Project

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

Ecuador-Project

Join us at a course in Cotacachi this winter.

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

We’ll visit the Otavalo markets.

Ecuador-Project

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

Cotacachi-meeting

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

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

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

Ecuador-Project

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