Tag Archive | "Department of State"

The American Dream Goes South at Florida Investment Seminar


I’ll focus on how the American dream is heading south at JGAM’s multi currency seminar in Florida this May.

If looked at one way… the American dream is dead. Let’s ramble through economic history for a moment to see why.

In the early 1980s the US had a challenge… a severe recession from July 1981 to November 1982.  Inflation was high so the Fed  slowed the rate of growth of the money supply and raised interest rates. The federal funds rate rose to 20% by June 1981. The prime interest rate, at the time a highly important economic measure, eventually reached 21.5% in June 1982. Businesses went broke by the drove… 50 percent over the previous year.  Especially hard hit were farmers and real estate developers.

The recession was the most serious recession since the Great Depression.

This was tough but inflation eased and the economy rebounded.  Growth took off again… real growth without bad inflation because the real estate overhang and subsequent bankruptcy of the Savings & Loan industry was dealt with by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

RTC liquidated via auction and a massive sell off to private business, the real estate that had been assets of savings and loan associations that were insolvent.

The US government had the sense then not to try and control these assets.  Entrepreneurs bought the assets for pennies on the dollar and turned the property into viable deals in ways that no government agency ever could.

Japan then had a serious recession and the same opportunity.  There was a real estate and stock bubble in Japan in the 1980s.   Then in 1989 there was a massive withdrawal of confidence. Investment collapsed, causing the Nikkei index to fall more than 60 percent.

The Japanese government however decided that it could provide a fix. the Japanese felt they could not let big Japanese businesses go broke.  Between 1992 and 1995, Japan tried six spending programs totaling 65.5 trillion yen. They cut  taxes in 1994. In 1998 they cut taxes again and launched stimulus packages worth more than 40 trillion yen.,  A year later… another stimulus program. In 2000 11 trillion yen more was spent to stimulate the economy.

Over a decade the Japanese government provided 10 stimulus packages worth more than a 100 trillion yen.   The main result was to ruin the Japanese government’s credit with public debt that exceeds 100 percent of GDP. This is the highest percent of debt of all major nations.

Any other results?  Here is evidence… the main Japanese stock index the Nikkei 225 from 1989 till 2009.  Japanese society is indebted for life and the stock exchange has fallen from over 35,000 to  7,600 in 20 years.

Wow that really worked well… so

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now the US government has decided to do the same thing.

Last week the government  offered another $30 billion in funds to A.I.G. insurance.  This is the fourth round of aid to the American International Group. The government already owns nearly 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company. How much more can they buy?

This sounds like a good investment since the insurance giant was about to report a $62 billion loss after the government has already given a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion purchase of preferred shares and purchased $50 billion of the company’s toxic assets.

Behind this, the government has invested $50 billion in Citigroup… $45 billion in Bank of America.  The Us auto bailout could cost another 100 billion. More on that in a later message.

This is all taking place as the US economy spirals down at an accelerated pace.

Yet the current administration is basing its spending on calculations that suggest vigorous rates of economic growth in years to come.

They have suggested this economic growth will come in 2010.

I wonder?

There seems to  a disconnect between the Federal projections and fiscal reality.   Current conditions are not yet at the level of the 1980s, when unemployment exceeded 10 percent, but they could be soon.

Moody’s chief economist now places the odds of “a mild depression” at 25 percent. In that view, the unemployment rate would reach 10.5 percent by the end of 2011 — up from 7.6 percent at the end of January — average home prices would fall 20 percent on top of the 27 percent they have plunged already, and losses in the financial system would more than triple, to $3.7 trillion.

Yet President Obama calls this a “once in a generation” opportunity and proposed a 10-year budget that overhauls health care, arrests global warming and expands the federal role in education.

How to pay for it?   Tax more corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers.

Wrong!  Higher tax will simply kill business or drive it abroad.  What a  good idea to chase away the last of the success.

The President said  he would shrink annual deficits.  His explanation is that he will increase revenue from rich individuals and polluting industries, reduce war costs and assume a good rate of economic growth by 2010.

The rich will stop working or leave the US.  The polluters will move to Mexico or China or wherever.   The high rate of economic growth will not appear.  Stopping the war will help… but not enough.

Technology means that politicians can no longer ignore the global market and tax its citizens to death.

Take for example what is happening in Ecuador.  Remittances sent by  Ecuadorians who work abroad fell 22 percent in the last quarter of 2008.

$643.9 million was sent from October to December 2008. This is $181.7 million less than in Oct.to Dec.2007.

A similar drop was experienced in the third quarter of 2008 and is caused by the global financial crisis and especially the economic slowdown in the United States, where it is estimated 1.5 million Ecuadorians live and work.

The U.S. employment rate has crashed especially in manufacturing and construction which employ a large number of Ecuadorians.

The same is true in  Spain – where 600,000 Ecuadorians live. this is the second-leading destination for Ecuadorians.

This means that there are more Ecuadorians to serve for less in Ecuador.  This forces the Ecuador cost of living down down.

So if you are an American who is about to be super taxed… where would you choose to live?  Our farm manager sent us this note recently, “We had 4 inches of snow in China Grove.”

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Would you rather live there and pay more tax or…

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enjoy open air dining as Merri and are doing here in our Cotacachi hotel courtyard with Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins or…

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would you rather enjoy a mountain train ride as these…

multi-currency-investing-florida-course new Cotacachi residents are doing…  passing through green mountains  and blue skies.  Getting a sun burn.

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The is the train from Ibarra to Salinas Ecuador.  Would you rather be taxed extra to be in this pool or…

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be here on Ecuador’s coast with tax advantages?

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Which view will the rich prefer?  This in the US or…

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this… especially if this San Clemente Ecuador ocean view costs much, much less?

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Where would I prefer to walk with my hound?  Here in sub zero temperatures or

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here in Cotacachi Ecuador…especially if I am taxed less and the cost of living is much lower and government interference in my life is less?

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Technology and the global market gives us as individuals enormous power to live where and as we choose that politicians can no longer ignore.

The government’s attitude to increase taxes on those who work hard could turn the existing brain drain from the US into a brain torrent.

In short there are many reasons I see that suggest the economic mess will  last for years in the US,  just as it has in Japan.

Recently, Warren Buffett wrote in his company’s annual report that “the economy will be in shambles, throughout 2009, and, for that matter, probably well beyond.”

This is not the picture we expect of the American dream.  However the picture is not bad for all.  Not all Italians became poor when Rome fell.  Italy is still a great place to live.  There are still millions of Japanese who have thrived over the past 15 years of Japanese recession.  The end of the America dream does not have to be the end of your dream.

In the US we can expect the rich to get richer… the poor poorer.   We can see why from our study of Power Distance Index.  We looked at PDI, and what it is, in a recent message about JGAM’s multi currency seminar.

There is more about Power Distance Index at http://www.clearlycultural.com which says:

Hofstede’s Power Distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

For example, Germany has a 35 on the cultural scale of Hofstede’s analysis. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), Germany is somewhat in the middle. Germany does not have a large gap between the wealthy and the poor, but have a strong belief in equality for each citizen. Germans have the opportunity to rise in society.

On the other hand, the power distance in the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale. The United States exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth compared to German society. As the years go by it seems that the distance between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ grows larger and larger.

The trick then is to not accept the PDI from the lower end. Let me explain.

Excerpts from 2007 article by a Stefan Bach , Giacomo Corneo  and Viktor Steiner at www.voxeu.org entitled German income inequality outlines an idea.  The article says:

Paul Krugman frequently mentions that America’s super rich make the 19th Century wealthy look poor. “We know what John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in Gilded Age America, made in 1894 … $1.25 million, almost 7,000 times the average per capita income in the United States at the time.” Krugman wrote. ”But that makes him a mere piker by modern standards … James Simons, a hedge fund manager, took home $1.7 billion, more than 38,000 times the average income.”

Surely such extremes cannot happen on Continental Europe with its social market economics and social solidarity. The authors of Policy Insight No. 4 shows that although income inequality in Germany is a long way from reaching US proportions, the trend is in that direction. Germany rich are getting richer, and its super-rich are getting super-richer.

In other words as a society progresses, those with power get richer while the majority of  the population become poorer.

Note above that power is determined  from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.”

Power is an illusion that keeps most investors and business people depressed while a few gain from this social falsification.

The internet destroys this illusion. The web gives us all power!  Today we have as much opportunity as the rich to gain from the changes that this economic correction will bring.

This is why Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  More on this in a moment.

First what you can do as an investor or with your own business.

One answer we saw above is to live in a better lower cost environment like Ecuador.

Another answer is to be a multi currency investor. Despite America’s government spending , the dollar has been gaining, particularly against European currencies. The euro slipped to under $1.26, nearing a two-year low and down from a high of almost $1.60. This is caused as fearful investors jump into 10-year Treasury bonds… which have been shown to be terrible long term investments.   All the US government spending means that the US dollar will fall. But against what?

The euro is not a trustworthy currency now. A March 1, 2009 New York Times article by Steven Erlanger and Stephen Castle entitled “Growing Economic Crisis Threatens the Idea of One Europe” explains why.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

The leaders of the European Union gathered Sunday in Brussels in an emergency summit meeting that seemed to highlight the very worries it was designed to calm: that the world economic crisis has unleashed forces threatening to split Europe into rival camps.

With uncertain leadership and few powerful collective institutions, the European Union is struggling with the strains this crisis has inevitably produced among 27 countries with uneven levels of development.

Whether Europe can reach across constituencies to create consensus, however, has been an open, and suddenly pressing, question.

“The European Union will now have to prove whether it is just a fair-weather union or has a real joint political destiny,” said Stefan Kornelius, the foreign editor of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We always said you can’t really have a currency union without a political union, and we don’t have one. There is no joint fiscal policy, no joint tax policy, no joint policy on which industries to subsidize or not. And none of the leaders is strong enough to pull the others out of the mud.”

Thomas Klau, Paris director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, an independent research and advocacy group, said, “This crisis affects the political union that backs the euro and of course the E.U. as a whole, and solidarity is at the heart of the debate.”

“All of that is in doubt if the cornerstone of the E.U. — its internal market, economic union and solidarity — is in question,” said Ronald D. Asmus, a former State Department official who runs the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund.

If the the euro is a good currency for diversification, which currencies are?

Our multi currency course helps you learn how to diversify into safe currencies.  Our studies currently suggest that the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian kroner and Canadian dollar make sense. For example beginning in March the Swedish kroner hit a new record low. The Eastern European problems are having an adverse impact on the Swedish banks.   Also the Norwegian currency is a good technical buy.

You can join us to understand why these currencies make sense by subscribing to our on line multi currency course.

You can also join us for a currency review at JGAM’s Naples Florida investment course May 29 to 31, 2009.  This course is $499 ($750 for two) but free to those who have subscribed to our on line multi currency course.

Another way you can attend JGAM Florida seminar free is to subscribe to our course on how to have a web based business.   You can enroll in this special course for $299 and attend the JGAM course in Naples free.

Here is a special offer on this course “Tangled Web – How to Have a Web Business“.

Or join us for an upcoming course in North Carolina or Ecuador.

Gary

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

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

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

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

Cotacachi Police & Health Services


Cotacachi police are an integral part of the excellent Cotacachi health and safety service.

There are several police stations in Cotacachi.

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The police are friendly and helpful.

This is refreshing at a time when the police are often aggressive.  One delegate from South Texas told me last month  that just driving in the country, doing nothing wrong, except perhaps having a car with tinted windows.  He was stopped three times.   The stops, he said, “were not pleasant”… the TSA agents were on the verge of being rude… hostile… for no reason. He made the mistake… just once of trying to make a joke and was severely reprimanded by the officer.

Yet this may get worse.

An excerpt from  February 23 New York Times article by Randal C. Archibold entitled, Wave of Drug Violence Is Creeping Into Arizona From Mexico, Officials Say says:

PHOENIX — The raging drug war among cartels in Mexico and their push to expand operations in the United States has led to a wave of kidnappings, shootings and home invasions in Arizona, state and federal officials said at a legislative hearing on Monday.

The drug trade has long brought violence to the state, which serves as a hub as illicit drugs and illegal immigrants are smuggled to the rest of the nation.

Over all, in this city and surrounding Maricopa County, homicides and violent crime decreased last year. But the authorities are sounding an alarm over what they consider changing tactics in border-related crime that bear the marks of the violence in Mexico.

A home invasion here last year was carried out by attackers wielding military-style rifles and dressed in uniforms similar to a Phoenix police tactical unit. The discovery of grenades and other military-style weaponry bound for Mexico is becoming more routine, as is hostage-taking and kidnapping for ransom, law enforcement officials said.

The Phoenix police regularly receive reports involving a border-related kidnapping or hostage-taking in a home.

The Maricopa County attorney’s office said such cases rose to 241 last year from 48 in 2004, though investigators are not sure of the true number because they believe many crimes go unreported.

The violence in Mexico — where more than 6,000 people were killed in the last year in drug-related violence, double the number of the previous year — is “reaching into Arizona, and that is what is really alarming local and state law enforcement,” said Cmdr. Dan Allen of the State Department of Public Safety.

“We are finding home invasion and attacks involving people impersonating law enforcement officers,” Commander Allen told the State Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Jonathan Paton of the Tucson area, called the hearing. “They are very forceful and aggressive. They are heavily armed, and they threaten, assail, bind and sometimes kill victims.”

Chief David Denlinger of the State Department of Public Safety said that while tactics like home invasions might not be new in the drug trade, “they are getting more prevalent.”

“Border crimes are not just on the border,” Chief Denlinger said, pointing to posters showing weapons, drugs and people who had been held hostage.

This type of problem in the US could increase the forcefulness of the US law enforcement and make contact with the police less pleasant.

The Cotacachi police are not aggressive.

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One guest at our hotel Meson de las Flores wrote about the Cotacachi police that gives a feel of how these law enforcement officers work with what he called “insistent persuasion”.   He wrote:

“Gary, I want to express my appreciation for your gracious hospitality on a recent stay at El Meson de los Flores. It was a relaxing three days.
“There was an incident on the street outside the hotel that might interest you. I was awakened one night by a ruckus on the street. Loud enough to prevent drifting off again I picked up my flashlight to check the time, 2:00 am. It sounded like several men were having an extra good time laughing and talking loudly.

A few minutes later I heard a vehicle approach and red light flashed around the bedroom walls.

I went to the window.

There was a pickup parked on the otherwise empty two lane street headed from my right to left (on the far side of the street to the hotel) opposite my window. The four door police pickup truck with three policemen stopped abreast the first pickup (close to the hotel) only a half vehicle length ahead of the first pickup.

One policeman exited the police truck’s left side standing under my window against the hotel wall watching the action holding a short barreled shotgun at ready.

The other two policemen mixed it up with four clearly smashed Ecuadorians in the middle of the street between the two vehicles. I witnessed the arrest progress.

The uproar increased (three more voices). Shortly the racket lessened. Then three men got into the police truck with two policemen. The third policeman got into the driver’s seat of the first pickup with one arrestee in the passenger’s seat and both vehicles drove off stage left.

I crawled into bed marveling that there had not been a show of force, only insistent persuasion. No swinging night sticks, sitting on the curb or face down on the street, handcuffs, rough shoving or body searches even in the face of resistance. Only patient urging with shotgun backup. Might this incident reflect favorably on the Ecuadorian temperament?”

The Cotacachi police are tolerant as well.

Cotacachi’s system allows for a human touch, for interpretation of the spirit of a regulation that goes beyond the letter of the law. For example the man below stands in one of the main intersections of the village and directs traffic. Dressed in the typical gray cameo of the Ecuador traffic police, he has his whistle, works all day, saves the community the cost of a stop light. He gets the job done. Yet he is not a policeman. He is not employed by anyone. He is handicapped and people just leave him to earn this humble living.  he helps… no harm done… so he is not bothered.

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Until next message may your needs for police be few.

Gary

Join us in Cotacachi.

What others say about joining us.

Hi Gary & Merri,

Just wanted to write and thank you for such a fun, interesting and exciting time in Cotacachi.  From the moment we got there, till we left, we were treated so kindly, and there was never any stress.  Being with you, your staff and the other guests – it felt like a family reunion; like one big family.  The staff were every present, earnest and helpful, and always a friendly word.

What I thought was particularly interesting was the trip we took to the sacred springs of the indigenous.  I experienced a very strong healing, and still feel great.  I’ve had some chronic pain for a long time and it is almost non-existent now.  The shaman (or curandero?) said that the water had strong energy and would change our energy.  It sure did for me! Although I may be the only one, since I didn’t hear anyone else say they had this type of experience.  Also the two courses we took, the Vedic Astrology and the Imbabura Real Estate tour was beyond anything we expected.  PhD Astrologer, Blaine Watson (what an inspired guy!) had a great presentation and took time to address some individuals questions on the particulars of their charts – which was insightful and amazing.  I am so looking forward to have my one-on-one reading on the phone.

The real estate tour was a blast.  Merri was really in her element – she was the “energizer bunny” simulataneously directing the coach driver, the taxi following us, lunch arrangements, all while giving running commentary on the microphone about where we were, what we would be seeing and why certain places did not welcomed foreigners and which places were favorable.  There were low-end, high-end, city and country homes, townhomes, lots and parcels for development.  Her expertise and knowledge of 14 years of living there was very much appreciated  – and the lunches she arranged were really great– and so much fun as a group.

The food at the Meson de las Flores was fabulous, organic, pure, fresh and delicious.  As you have said about other guests, we too managed to lose a little weight in the short time we were there.  I think it was all the walking, the altitude and the low carb, low sugar food you served.  Every meal delicious, and the items for tea and the deserts were wonderful while not very sweet.  Oh, and the fresh juices were heaven!

As I’ve been telling my friends, the best things about Cotacachi were;  the people, the energy, the food, the weather, the quaintness, and the calmness.  The residents were so nice and we had no fears about walking thru the village and plazas at 10:00 at  night, which we did almost every night.

We had a blast and we thank you and your staff for all your efforts.

Very Sincerely,

Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  Here is a special offer on this new course.

You can enroll in this special course for $299. However if you sign up for three courses in any one month.

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

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

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

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

Ecuador Crime Stat


A recent article Ecuador Crime Surprise showed some very interesting Ecuador crime stats.

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Here are three Ecuadorian dancers who entertained us on a recent Cotacachi Ecuador real estate tour. The people are so friendly we always feel safe, but many people who write to us ask us about crime. So we have been researching this.

One article about Ecuador crime we found was entitled “Crime and Society, a Comparative Criminology Tour of the World” page published at ROHAN, the Academic Computing Web Server at San Diego State University.

San Diego State University has a highly diverse student population of 33,000 students, including approximately 6,000 graduate students. With 75 masters, 3 masters of fine arts and 16 joint doctoral programs, San Diego State University is currently designated as a “research/high research” institution by the Carnegie Foundation and soon expects to be Doctoral/Research-Extensive.

This report on Ecuador’s crime said: the overall crime rate in Ecuador is low compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Ecuador.

For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI’s index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Ecuador will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate).

According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 1999 was 25.92 per 100,000 population for Ecuador, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA.

For rape, the rate in 1999 was 6.2 for Ecuador, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA.

For robbery, the rate in 1999 was 95.85 for Ecuador, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA.

For aggravated assault, the rate in 1999 was 35.59 for Ecuador, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA.

For burglary, the rate in 1999 was 164.52 for Ecuador, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA.

The rate of larceny for 1999 was 138.32 for Ecuador, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA.

The rate for motor vehicle theft in 1999 was 52.87 for Ecuador, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA.

The rate for all index offenses combined was 519.27 for Ecuador, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA.

Only in the rate of murder does Ecuador exceed industrialized countries.

This article stimulated some great reader response.

One subscriber wrote: Thanks for the great article Gary. We live in the burbs of Cleveland OH and there are parts of Cleveland we don’t go especially at night. As you said there is crime everywhere, but thanks to your articles we’ll know the places to stay clear of. We plan on joining you in June of 2009 and will be in touch to get all of the particulars. Until then, keep up the great work, it is much appreciated.

Another said:

Great job with this topic, Gary — Ecuador is a much improved expat option since I was there in the 1960’s — I’m considering becoming a homeowner there now. The State Department should try doing a “violence alert” for New York City — it ranks right up there with Moscow and Bogotá for downright inhuman violence!

Yet another wrote:

Gary, Good job of explaining your position on Ecuador violence. I suspect that if my wife and I walked the beaches near the New York City or New Jersey Coast late at night alone, we could encounter such violence or more. The sad news is that there is violence every where and although Ecuador is not a “magic pill” against violence we firmly believe that Ecuadorians are peace loving, kind and non-violent by nature. We have a similar problem as you in attempting to explain to our US friends and acquaintances that Ecuador is safe.. only time will help erase this very unfortunate event and it has been an eye opener for us to be more careful everywhere.”

Yet Ecuador is not soft on crime. Steve added this thought:

I am in San Clemente on the coast right now. All is quiet and peaceful. the same was true in Manta, the approach road and on the journey here. Tell your readers that the locals in San Clemente are playing street bingo this Saturday. As I explained what´s in a name?

For us Europeans or American a State of Emergency conjures up all knd of draconian measures such as martial law, riots, food shortages, withdrawal of democratic rights – in fact the whole darn country falling to pieces.

In fact on Friday I caught glimpse of 2 papers – this “state of emergency” made page 17 in ‘El Telegrafo’ and was far inside of ‘La Hora’.

The State is taking corrective measures to curb a wave of gang related violence in Manta, Esmeralda and Guayaquil. So far only Manta has a new police chief but the other two cities are about to follow this week.

So what´s actually happening on the ground regardless of what names are applied to the situation? Basically there have been protests in all three cities because of increased violence this year. The police have responded with emergency operations including joint patrols with the under utilized army. How terrible that the army here has to resort to this instead of fighting foreign wars where they are neither needed, wanted or appreciated. Here the army is appreciated and respected.

Also a SWAT team is about to descend on Manta and break loose all hell on the delinquents here. Lets see where we go from here but State of Emergency – from what I can see – is just a confusing name.

The low crime statistics suggests that Ecuador crime should not be much of a factor when you consider visiting though every place has risk, if you do not take care.

Wherever you go, be careful. Remember that you have to go through a learning curve in any place that is new.

If Ecuador sounds exciting, please do come, look and see for yourself. Most who do and the many families who have moved here feel pretty darn safe…because we have learned where and where not to go.

To assist those interested in Ecuador I have established a full time full support research and assistance team to help Ecuador Living subscribers in any way required. Part of this team are multi lingual Westerners so we understand the Western cultural needs as well as those of Ecuador.

You can learn more about our Ecuador Living service here.

Gary

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.

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

Ecuador-El Meson-Courtyard

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

Ecuador-Beach-Work

You can even work online (as my friend Steve is doing above) while on the coast.

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