Tag Archive | "Rafael Correa"

Ecuador Politics & Reality


Will Ecuador politics lead to this?

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or is this the more likely result of Ecuador politics?

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See below a batch pf Ecuador pictures and why I lean towards the politics of dancers in Ecuador.  First some words about Ecuador politics.

A reader sent this note asking about Ecuador political realities.

Mr. Scott, I want to thank you for the reports that you are sending me about Ecuador politics. I had decided to come there the first week of April and check things out. Then I saw on the news, here in the US, that the President of Ecuador is becoming just like the President of Venezuela, another dictator that will ruin the country and make it very undesirable and unsafe to live there. I would like for your honest opinion on this matter.  Sincerely,

Here is my Ecuador politics reply.

I never believe much of what I read in the news anymore. When I see how the US, especially the CIA treats Latin politics and Ecuador I am surprised there is not more hostility to the US.

Many readers read a lot of bad stuff about Ecuador politics and Correa and how he is not renewing the US lease on the Manta air base that started in 2000.

What the news on Ecuador politics does not report is what the US has been helping Colombia do from that base.

For example the news up north has not reported on an article at Commondreams .com written by the Environment News Service. Here is an excerpt:

Ecuador Sues Colombia to Stop Anti-Coca Herbicide Spray

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands- The government of Ecuador today filed suit at the International Court of Justice against the government of Colombia, in an effort to stop or restrict aerial anti-coca spraying that has allegedly sickened people on the Ecuadorean side of the border and harmed livestock, farmland, and sensitive, ecologically diverse rainforest areas.

The lawsuit follows seven years of persistent but unsuccessful diplomatic efforts on Ecuador’s part to convince its neighbor to the north to establish a 10 kilometer (six mile) no-spray zone along their shared border.

Colombia is expected to argue that the aerial fumigation of illegal coca farms, which provide the raw material for cocaine production, is a linchpin of the war on drugs.  Ecuador claims that the chemical sprays have sickened its people, poisoned farmland and damaged ecologically sensitive areas.

At a press conference in Quito announcing the lawsuit, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Maràa Isabel Salvador said, “With the purpose of establishing the existence and dimensions of the afflictions suffered by Ecuador as a result of these and past fumigations, last year President Rafael Correa created the Ecuadorian Scientific Commission, comprised of eminent scientists from our country.

“The results of the commission’s work have been crucial to reaching the irrefutable conclusion that Colombian aerial fumigations have had noxious effects on our people and our environment,” she said.

“There is no doubt that the fumigations conducted by the government of Colombia constitute a grave violation of the sovereignty of Ecuador and of the most basic principles of international law,” she said, “which prohibits a state from causing harm to the population, land and well-being of a neighboring state.”

Since spraying began in 2000, Colombia has refused to consider such measures, the lawsuit asserts. Instead, its planes and helicopters loaded with herbicide have flown right up to and sometimes directly over the border, releasing chemicals designed to eradicate all forms of plant life.

The spray has drifted to the Ecuadorean side, where villagers have reported feeling the mist settle on their skin. People in Ecuadorean border communities, many of them poor subsistence farmers or those raising small cash crops, have suffered skin lesions and rashes, burning eyes, nausea, dizziness, respiratory problems, and intestinal bleeding. Some have died.

Ecuador alleges that the spraying has killed livestock and crops, forcing the abandonment of villages, while harming ecologically sensitive areas of high biodiversity.

Nearly one third of the country’s territory is protected or park land, and Ecuador is estimated to have the highest average biological diversity of any nation on Earth.

Since 2000, the United States has been financing the aerial spraying of coca crops in Colombia, which is the world’s leading producer.

According to the lawsuit, Colombia has refused to disclose the exact makeup of the herbicide it uses, though the active ingredient is known to be glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl). The active ingredient is reportedly combined with other chemicals to make aerial sprays more potent.

Ecuador protested the violation of its territory as soon as spraying began in 2000, and has sought to resolve the countries’ dispute through negotiation and diplomacy.

As a last resort, it submits its argument to the International Court of Justice, whose jurisdiction is confirmed by the American Treaty for the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, also known as the Pact of Bogotá, to which both Ecuador and Colombia are parties.

Ecuador has been an active partner against illegal drugs. It is the only Andean country with virtually no coca crop. Yet they have to put up with this even though Colombian government officials agree that the aerial spraying against coca plants is largely ineffective.

Nor did the northern news make much mention when Colombia bombed Ecuador territory to kill a FARC commander that had taken refuge in the hinterlands of Ecuador.

I wonder how the US would have reacted had Mexico dropped bombs in Arizona to kill Mexican criminals there?

Nor have the northern news reported much of the details outlined at antiwar.com in an article by Kintto Lucas entitled  “CIA Infiltration’ Charges Prompt Shakeup in Ecuador’s Armed Forces”

Here are excerpts:

QUITO – President Rafael Correa’s allegations that intelligence services in Ecuador had been infiltrated by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have led to a shakeup in the armed forces of unforeseeable consequences.

The current crisis broke out as a result of Colombia’s Mar. 1 bombing raid of a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp in Ecuadorian territory, which led to a brief rupture in relations between Ecuador and Colombia and sparked a regional crisis that was quickly overcome through dialogue.

At least two other members of the Ecuadorian high command have also offered their resignations, said Camacho.

Ponce, the new defense minister, said “this is not setting the stage for a witch hunt, but for a healthy critical exercise of transparency. The stability of our democracy is not based on cover-ups but on the courageous analysis of our actions.”

He also urged the armed forces “to undertake a generous review of their structures and practices.”

On Saturday, Correa denounced in his weekly radio broadcast that the CIA “has totally infiltrated some of Ecuador’s military intelligence bodies.”

According to the news report, when it began to be revealed that the armed forces had previous knowledge of the Colombian air strike on the FARC camp in Ecuador, several military officers complained internally that the intelligence service had not passed on the information.

Local media outlets reported that military intelligence had been following Franklin Aizalla, an Ecuadorian citizen who died in the attack on the FARC camp, without informing Correa.

On Mar. 17, Correa and then defense minister Sandoval learned from the press that Aizalla had been under surveillance, which Colombia’s right-wing President Álvaro Uribe had been aware of for some time.

Colonel Pazmiño’s curriculum indicates “very effective training by the US and Israeli security bodies,” wrote Ecuadorinmediato, which added that “he handled military intelligence operations in a nearly autonomous manner, without duly reporting to his superiors, many of whom were unaware of those actions.”

He also said that, “besides the CIA’s infiltration in the armed forces, it is essential to take a look at what is happening in the police, who have traditionally had the closest ties to US security policies for the region.”

Former US Southern Command chief Charles Wilhelm said in 2000 that after Ecuador signed an agreement leasing the air base in the port city of Manta to the US military, one of Washington’s aims was to “reorient” the Ecuadorian armed forces.

The officer who spoke anonymously to IPS said “part of that reorientation was the modification of the training received by the Ecuadorian military, to make it more similar to the training received by the Colombian army.”

A few days after the Mar. 1 bombing of the FARC camp, the Colombian magazine Cambio reported that members of the Ecuadorian police intelligence services had helped locate the camp.

More recently Ecuador accused an expelled Mark Sullivan, the U.S. Embassy’s first secretary in the office of regional affairs and stated he was in charge of CIA operations here.   Ecuadorean officials claim he meddle in the assignment of senior police.

The US denied this CIA allegation… but why am I not convinced?

Having said this, the Presidents in Ecuador have been bad for the entire 14 years Merri and I have been here. This has made little difference to day to day life.  Go to Garyascott.com and type Correa in the search engine as I have written several messages about him.  He is the best I have seen so far.

I believe that many of his policies are incorrect but he is the first President here that I believe will be reelected in April.

He is smart in that after just two years in office he is running again while he is popular instead of waiting the normal four years.  I believe he will be reelected now. In two more years…who knows?

He has been providing free housing for the poor.

They are little 240 square feet affairs.

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given free.

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These little houses are everywhere on the coast.

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Let me be clear about Correa. I do not like many of the things he has been doing… but then again I do not like many things that Obama is doing either.

Obama and Correa have much in common… youth… energy and inexperience.

Anyone looking for a place to live where the country has only good politicians may be in for quite a search.

Let me also be clear about my position regarding the USA.

A reader recently asked:

Gary, Just curious – if you love Ecuador so much – why is legal address in NC, USA.   Why a non-profit entity in the US!

My reply kind of says it all.

Does one have to dislike one country because they love another?

We have lived in Hong Kong,  England, Europe, The US, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and have enjoyed them all.    If there is one key theme in the thousands of messages we have sent to our tens of thousands of readers about global living is that diversification, people and value are keys aspects in our beliefs.

We love Ecuador and live part time here.We also love North Carolina and live part time there.  We make no bones about our love for America and how we live more there than in Ecuador.

We reported recently how we are shifting our focus back to Florida and why at Ecuador shamans & truth … value and people… plus diversification.

Those three themes value… people… diversification are our politics.

This is our North Carolina home.

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This, Meson de las Flores is our Ecuador home. Note how the US and Ecuadorian flag freely fly, side by side, with those of many other nations.

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Each makes the other better!

We do not get much into politics here. We just enjoy the life… the sweet people… the warm weather… the good food and low cost living and let the politicians and the newscasters play their games. They have very little effect on life here.

In fact bad Ecuador politics in many ways make life better for retirees here.  Bad politics screw up the economy leaving people poor and keeping the cost of living low.

I hope that changes. I would like to see more people in Ecuador prosper but that probably will not happen soon.

Low oil prices… reduced remittances from abroad and a global economic slow down will challenge Correa over the next four years if I am correct and he is reelected.

The bad economics will put Correa under pressure and he’ll make mistakes. He may even come off as a brash hot head.  Does this make him a dictator? Not that I have seen.  Will it make any difference in my life or the other gringo’s living here. Probably not.

In fact if there is anyone to fear it is the NEWS that misleads you and tries with its spin to lock you into a narrow point of view. Life is good out here… make no mistake about this.

While many are living with the crowds and stress and snow and high prices… thinking there is danger here… a growing number of us are enjoying the sun… low stress… low cost and a good life without big brother.

While so many are stressing out up north, here is a group of new residents here in Cotacachi who decided to take the day train from Ibarra to Salinas.

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Off they go!

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Sun… ecuador-political-reality

blue skies and friendship… plus…

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happy entertainment when they arrive…

ecuador-political-reality joy… color and

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good food to share.

None of us are worried much about dictators and these soldiers here.  See my upcoming story about this one next week!

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However, you should come take a look, see and feel for yourself.

Gary

Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 

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Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

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Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the place I have lived.  Everywhere I have been… too numerous to share here, I have been able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from writing.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on Amazon.com.  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Sometimes Hugh and I get together at my  farm and play chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like High are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

You can receive both the written course and the recorded weekend seminar, in an MP3 file, in a special “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program I am making available to you.  The normal fee is $299 for the written course and $299 for the recorded workshop.   I’ll send you both the course and the recorded workshop and my course “International Business Made EZ (also $299) all for $299.  You save $598.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .

These courses are not theoretical.  They describe, step-by-step, how Merri and I built a million-dollar international business and how we are running this self publishing business right now.   We use the 7Ps today just as we did four decades ago to create a strong annual income.

This correspondence course is for those who would like their own international self publishing micro business for fun and profit. If you want fun, freedom, extra income and fulfillment with your own full or part time writing or want to build your existing business, by writing to sell you can profit from this course.  The course can help who want their own business or who want to have a business together or a family business.  This is the perfect course for those who can no longer find employment, who are looking for ways to earn abroad and who wish to retire and supplement their income.

Whether you are retired, an investor, chiropractor, doctor, dentist, professional or already own your own business, this offers another way to make money, to turn your passion into profit. We guarantee that we have shared all we know to help you start and run your own international business.  Enjoy and live a life of following your Passion to Profit… through writing.

Here is a special offer. 

We provide two emailed courses  “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell and be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ”.

We include the “Self Fulfilled Writing and Self Publishing Course” because there are two reasons to write, when you have something to say or when you have something to sell.  In this day and age many of us want to do both, make a statement that makes the world a better place and earn something extra in the process. 

Whatever your passion, however you do business, chances are you’ll be writing either to create a product or to sell a product. 

You save more than $598 because you also receive a recorded webinar conducted by our webmaster David Cross (at no extra cost).

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David Cross

David has been our webmaster since our website began in the 1990s.  He is Merri’s and my business partner. We could not run our business as we do without him.

Learn the tactics we use in our web business that condenses 27 years of practical experience about search engine optimization, and writing for search engines.

For the last 27 years David has worked with companies large and small – IBM, Agora Publishing, AstraZeneca and many small business owners.  He has worked in 22 countries, and lived in six of them.

David’s clients span the globe and represent companies and charities both large and small.  From corporate giants to small, one-woman businesses and everything from finance, healthcare, publishing, technology, real estate, veterinarians, alternative health centers and everything in between.

David is an essential part of our web based business.

Myles Norin, CEO of Agora, Inc.  wrote:  “I have found David’s knowledge and experience unmatched in the industry.  Without David’s expertise and guidance for the past 7 years, we would not be nearly as successful as we are.”

As Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore, MD, he worked closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers and – over a 7-year period – helped to propel Agora’s online revenues from around $20 million to well over $300 million.

David’s webinar will help you gain benefits in your micro business that large internet marketing companies use.  In this practical recorded workshop you will learn valuable skills to help your micro business.

There has never been a time when the opportunity for small businesses abroad has been so outstanding.  Expand your borders now!  Increase your economic security freedom, independence and success.

If you are not fully satisfied that this offers you enormous value simply email us for a full refund within 60 days.  You can keep all three courses as our thanks for giving our courses a try.

You also receive a report  “How to use Relaxed Concentration to Brainstorm Business Ideas” and a recorded workshop “How to Become and Remain Rich With Relaxed Concentration” at no additional cost.

Plus you get more in the program.

You receive regular writing and self publishing updates for a year.  Businesses usually need to evolve.  Merri and I continue to publish and have our independent businesses.  Some basics have remained for decades, but new strategies occur all the time throughout the year.  We’ll be sending along updates that share our most recent experiences as we learn and continue to grow our international micro business from Smalltown USA.

My special offer to you in this “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”, is that you receive:

  • “International Business Made EZ” course
  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
  • Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
  • The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3,
  • MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
  • Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within the first three months for a full refund . 

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a quarter of update lessons $79.   Click Here.

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a full year of update lessons $299.  Click Here.      

See success stories from Self Publishers and a few who have attended the “Writer’s Camp” that you will receive on MP3.

 

Ecuador Economic Worries


A number of readers have sent questions about Ecuador economic worries. One regular Ecuador economic worry I receive is that Ecuador will stop using the US dollar as its currency.

There is little doubt that Ecuador’s economy is in a mess.

Which economy is not?

We’ll look at this Ecuador economic worry in a moment, but to put this worry into perspective, may I share some other economic worries at the same time… plus post some photos from our friend, Dennis Goff… such as this shot from a boutique hotel in Manta, Ecuador where you can stay for $52 a night.

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These pictures were taken by our friend Dennis Goff and they make an important point.

Dennis is a friend and a professional photographer.

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He and his wife, Nicki, live part time in Ecuador and often join us on our tours where he helps us by providing some really great shots.

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All the photos here were taken by Dennis…

Ecuador has economic worries, yes, but are they worse than the economic worries in Europe or the US?   The photos show that while we worry we can be in paradise on a shoestring budget.

For example, Dennis took this shot of a four floor Bahia, Ecuador house on our latest Ecuador coastal real estate tour…  just $95,000 asking.

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The four floors run up a hill…  over 3,000 square feet with these…

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views.  Here are our real estate tour delegates viewing this house.

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I wonder if  the Western  economic and social system will do well if the current economic downturn continues?

Global economic problems are not likely to disappear soon and they are everywhere!

Excerpts from the New York Times March 20, 2009 article “New Deficit Forecast Casts Shadow on Obama Agenda”  by Jackie Calmes shows how disturbed America’s economy is when it says:

WASHINGTON — The Congressional Budget Office placed a new hurdle in front of President Obama’s agenda on Friday, calculating that the White House’s tax and spending plans would create deficits totaling $2.3 trillion more than the president’s budget projected for the next decade.

Senator Kent Conrad said the budget office analysis confirmed the need for adjustments.

The difference largely reflects the administration’s more optimistic forecasts of economic growth through 2019.

The budget office figures, which will guide Congress as it takes up Mr. Obama’s proposals in earnest next week, were worse than Democratic leaders expected and further complicated their job of achieving the president’s priorities on health care, energy policy and much more.

Moderate Democrats from competitive districts and states have already expressed nervousness about some of Mr. Obama’s plans, especially as Republicans have grown increasingly emboldened to stay on the attack.

Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said the new report “confirms that under the president’s plan, our debt will increase to shocking levels that are simply unsustainable and will devastate future economic opportunities for our children and grandchildren.

I fear that anyone looking for a perfect place, with honest, intelligent politicians, a great economy, perfect law and order and a low cost of living will have a long search.

At least while searching for economic stability in Ecuador, you can enjoy perfect weather, friendly people and incredible values.

Ecuador’s economy is oil dependent which creates economic problems if oil prices remain low.

Yet Ecuador has many other resources and for gringos it offers amazing value.

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Where else could you live on a beach like this… with great weather for $79,000… including…

ecuador-economic-ideas membership in this club house… with spa, pool, luxury dining and tennis on the beach?

Lower oil prices have reduced Ecuador revenues. Remittances from Ecuador workers abroad have dropped and foreign investments have fallen due to the rising dollar and Ecuador’s decision to default on its bonds.

Because the U.S. dollar is Ecuador’s currency, it doesn’t print its own money. This keeps politicians who would like to turn on the printing machine from doing so.

This is why Ecuador dollarized in the first place.  Dollarization worked an economic wonder.  Inflation fell from over 70% to below 5% in 2001.

But extra income from oil set the government on the wrong course… just as the high 1998 tax revenues in the US set America’s government on a spending spree at exactly the wrong time.

Now a severe trade deficit caused by the strong dollar is draining Ecuador of dollars.  The dollar has risen versus currencies in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, etc. This makes goods in Ecuador cost more and thus they are harder to export.

Ecuador’s government has reacted by creating high import taxes to slow down imports. This has caused the cost of living to rise in Ecuador.

Excerpts from a recent Bloomberg article entitled “Ecuador May Have to Drop Dollar, Credit Suisse Says” by Lester Pimentel helps explains why:

March 19 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador’s banking system strains and plunging foreign-exchange reserves may force the South American country to drop the dollar as its currency, Credit Suisse Group AG said.

“Mounting pressures on the banking system could potentially harm the fiscal accounts further and could force the government to de-dollarize the economy, in spite of its wish to continue to defend the use of the dollar as the country’s currency,” Diego Sasson, a Credit Suisse analyst in New York, wrote in a report published yesterday.

“Ecuador won’t abandon use of the dollar to offset plunging oil revenue and worker remittances from abroad,” President Rafael Correa said today in an interview with the Unimax television network. The country adopted the dollar in 2000 to help curb inflation after the sucre tumbled 73 percent against the dollar and the government defaulted on $6.5 billion of foreign debt.

Ecuador’s use of the dollar gives Correa no outlet for providing credit to the economy as access to foreign financing dries up and revenue from oil sales slides. Crude, which has dropped 65 percent from a July record, accounts for 60 percent of Ecuador’s exports.

The country’s foreign reserves declined 5 percent to $3.31 billion in the week ended March 13, the lowest since June 2007, the country’s central bank said in a report on its Web site March 16. Reserves have plunged 47 percent from $6.5 billion in September as the global recession eroded demand for oil exports and the country defaulted for the second time this decade.

Yet despite the rising costs you can still enjoy a hotel like this for as little as…

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$85 a night, which is what…

ecuador-economic-ideas delegates at our recent coastal tour paid.

The Ecuador economic worry is that dropping the US dollar could cause an economic collapse that would somehow destabilize the country.

Perhaps.

But those who are concerned about Ecuador economics may not have thought the problem and resultant social economic reactions all the way through.

Perhaps they have not lived and invested abroad for 41 years as Merri and I have.

Generally I look for places with social or economic worries  to invest. The economic worries are almost always overblown which creates extra value like…

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this one bedroom condo ($75,000 asking) in Manta.

I started my business career in Hong Kong when bombs were being set off by terrorists.  I saw how the fear created by those bombs built fortunes for those who did not over react.

If Ecuador eliminates the dollar as its currency, chances are that the cost of living in Ecuador for those who earn dollars… such as those living on social security and or pensions, will drop.

In other words, if Ecuador returns to the sucre life gets better for the gringos whose income is generated from abroad.

Delegates on our most recent Ecuador coastal real estate tour bought lots in this gated community for $17,500.

ecuador-economic-idea

This is assuming that a collapse does not create too much social unrest.

Fortunately we have some recent Ecuador economic history upon which to reflect.  In 1999 Ecuador’s economy came to a grinding halt.   All the banks shut.  Ecuador ran out of gas. Millions emigrated to Spain, Italy and the US.

Were there riots? No.  Murders?  No. Mayhem? No. Social disintegration? No.  A breakdown of law and order? No.

My reaction to that 1999 crisis.

I bought 962 acres of Ecuador real estate.

Ecuador is a pretty good place to be in times of economic collapse.

Prices are low now. beauty is high.  This Manta condo offers…

ecuador-economic-idea

three bedroom units at $130,000 asking.

There is always plenty of food.  Ecuador’s people are happy, friendly and industrious. They have never learned to expect much from their government. They have never learned to rely much on the purchasing power of paper money or Ecuador’s banks.

We are living in a time of global change and turmoil.

My belief is that those who ignore or try to avoid this fact will have a hard time.

Those who embrace change and adapt will have greater than average opportunity.

See more on this thinking at Ecuador Perceptions and International Investments in Fear.

Here is another shot of the Manta condo that Dennis took on our last Ecuador coastal real estate tour.

ecuador-economic-idea

Remember the following rules of investing:

#1: Markets are efficient in the long run but financial markets are not effective short term due to human behavior.

#2: To attain higher growth you must either increase risk or trust luck.

#3: Invest in inexpensive equities or real estate that is paying a reasonable dividend or rent.

The economic cleansing we are enduring has not changed any of the rules above but has made it easier to find good inexpensive shares and real estate.

For example this Bahia condo on the 7th floor has over 1,000 square feet, 2 bedrooms 2.5 baths with views from all rooms.   The balcony looks over the peninsula of Bahia, and the Pacific Ocean.  Yet…

ecuador-economic-ideas

the asking price is only $81,000.

There are three important facts that investors need to remember:

#1: Do not care too much about day to day volatility.
#2: Care more about strategy.
#3: Avoid short term buying and selling.  Spend time analyzing and forecasting instead.

The condo above is near this shot.

ecuador-economic-idea

Here are rules for gaining in a market crisis.

#1: Turn on the auto pilot and normally add to your position.
#2: Do not panic.
#3: Do not let feelings influence you too much.
#4: Do not count on extraordinary returns. Be realistic.
#5: Add some restructuring stories to your portfolio
#6: Know that a period of low returns will be followed by a period of high returns.
#7: Do not underexpose yourself for the long term.

Here is another scene near the Bahia condo.

ecuador-economic-idea

Ecuador may or may not leave the US dollar behind.

If it does, I expect real estate values to move just as they did before Ecuador dollarized. Hotel rooms were quoted in dollars and changed daily as the sucre fell.

Real estate was bought and sold in sucre but the price changed each day as the sucre fell.

Ecuador real estate is a global commodity just like oil.  The price will adjust to a falling currency… which is why Ecuadorians always invest in real estate instead of bonds, shares or bank accounts.

We can choose to worry or not….about Ecuador’s economics… or those in the US, Europe or anywhere. We live in a global economy.

We can also choose where to be when we worry.  Ecuador offers  many reasons why it’s a good place to be during these times of change.

Until next message, may all your changes be good.

Gary

If you plan to join us at six or more seminars and tours in Ecuador, Florida or  North Carolina in 2010 you can save as an International Club member

See details about each of our seminar and tours below… then see our December special that allows you to attend as many of these courses you like at a huge savings.

For International Investing and Business.

For Super Thinking + Spanish

For Ecuador Shamanic Tour

For Ecuador Export

For North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi

For Manta & Mid Coast

For Quito & Mindo

For Salinas & South Coast

For Cuenca

You gain discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours.

Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

But our 2009 International Club membership which allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 56 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $2,999.

The International club fee rises to $3,500 in January 2010. Enroll in the International Club now at the original fee of $2,999. Save $501.

International Club 2010

Attend our 56 investment, business, Spanish, real estate and export, courses and tours in 2010 with one small enrollment fee.

International Club 2010 Membership Enroll here

Here are the 56 courses and tours you can attend free. Plus there is even one more savings you will see below.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour
Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 15-18     Coastal Real Estate Tour
Jan. 19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Jan. 21-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Join us in February or March.

Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Fl.

Feb. 15-16   Travel to and visit Quito
Feb  17         Travel to Manta
Feb. 18-19   Coastal Real Estate Tour
Feb. 20        Travel to Cotacachi
Feb. 21-22   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Mar. 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.
Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes
Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Mar. 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic tour
Mar. 22-23    Coastal Real Estate Tour
Mar. 25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour
Mar. 28-29   South Coast Real Estate Tour

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

May  13-14     Ecuador Shamanic Minga  ($499 or couple $749)
May  16-17    Imbabura Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)
May  19-20    Coastal Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
May  22-23    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)
May  25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)
May  28-29    South Coast real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

June 24         Quantum Wealth North Carolina
June 25-27    International Investing and Business North Carolina  ( $749 or couple $999)
June 28-29   Travel to Ecuador and Andes
June 30-Jy 1 Imbabura Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)
July 3-4          Coastal Real Estate Tour   ($499 or couple $749)
July 6-7          Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour    ($499 or couple $749)
July 9-10        Cuenca Real Estate Tour   ($499 or couple $749)

Sept.   3-6      Ecuador Export Tour  ($499 or couple $749)
Sept.   8-9      Imbabura Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)
Sept. 11-12     Coastal Real Estate Tour   ($499 or couple $749)
Sept. 14-15     Cuenca Real Estate Tour    ($499 or couple $749)
Sept. 17-18     Ecuador Shamanic Minga  ($499 or couple $749)
Sept 20-21      South Coast Real Estate tour ($499 or couple $749)

Oct.    7          Quantum Wealth North Carolina
Oct.   8-10     International Investing & Business North Carolina ($749 or couple $999)
Oct.   11-12    Travel to Quito and Andes
Oct.  13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Oct.  16-17     Coastal Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Oct.  19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Oct. 22-23     Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

Nov.    4-7        Super Thinking + Spanish Course Florida ($749 or couple $999)
Nov.    8-9       Travel to Quito and Andes
Nov. 10-11       Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Nov. 13-14      Coastal Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Nov. 16-17      Quito-Mindo Real Estate  ($499 or couple $749)
Nov. 19-20     Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Nov  22-23      South Coast Real Estate Tour (($499 or couple $749)

Dec.   3-5       Ecuador Shamanic Mingo  ($499 or couple $749)
Dec.   7-8       Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Dec.  10-11    Coastal Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Dec. 13-14     Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Dec. 16-17      Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $2,999 (until January 2010).  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and your guest can attend courses worth $40,947.

You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses is shown below.

Arrival dates are always one or two days earlier. Please double check with us before booking flights.

I invite you to be a member of the International Club which allows you and your guest of your choice to attend all of these courses which are valued at $40,947!

International Club 2010 Membership Enroll here

You may well wonder why I would make such an offer and ask why the cost is so low? Let me answer this question frankly and from the heart.

First, it helps us do a better job for you. We feel greatly enriched when we can really help our clients improve their lives. We have learned through years of experience the best way to do this is to meet with you regularly. We can best help you learn how to improve your health and wealth through continual expansion of knowledge.

Second, we gain enormous fulfillment from the many friendships we form through the years. Our friends have enriched our lives tremendously. Let me explain this in more detail.

As a member, you will be part of our international family that meets intensively over the next year to examine ways we can make our lives better. Our goal is beyond just having money. Our goal is to have quantum wealth… good health… wealth and fulfillment through service.

Though I give all course delegates my very best, I cannot help but to do a better job for those who come again and again. As we meet often; your particular wants, needs and desires become clear, and it is easier for me to point you in the right direction.

Another phenomenon is that repeat delegates help each other! They get to know one another, help each other learn, share their insights, make contacts and gain more wealth.

Out associates in Ecuador, are experienced business people who live or work and conduct our real estate and export courses.  They can also act as your local backup for the business.

Lifestyle for Two. There is more! I have learned at my courses that many repeat delegates were couples.

We want couples! As a member of the program, you are entitled to bring another person to every single course or tour. The cost for that extra person will be ZERO!  You can bring whomever you wish. Bring your spouse, a friend, son or daughter, partner, accountant, adviser. You can bring the same person each time or a different person, whomever you choose to accompany you. (Accommodations and air fares relating to the courses are not included for members, delegates or their guests.)

Won’t you join us in this exciting club and share Merri’s and my lifestyle for the next year? We look forward to seeing you at as many courses as possible and sharing this wonderful world of abundance and well being with you!

Gary

International Club 2010 Membership  Enroll here

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.

Ecuador-bond-default

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.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

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 Bond Failure


Ecuador bond failure may create profits in two ways.

See below how an Ecuador bond failure might make properties like this hotel (for sale right now) worth more.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Many readers have sent me a link to the Bloomberg which says: “Ecuador May Default on $30 Million Interest Payment (Update2)” by Lester Pimentel and Daniel Cancel.

There are two important points we can spot by studying this article…one about global investing…the other about living abroad.

First, let me make one other point, the most important point of all. However you invest…wherever you live, do something you love.

For example, here I am working hard leading our latest Ecuador real estate tour. We are looking at a “hotel” for sale by the sea.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Do you think I am worried about how I am going to retire?

Work hard but enjoy the process! We love looking at places like this Ecuador “hotel” for sale.

The asking price?

You won’t believe it when you see it below.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

The key is to invest in stuff you find interesting…and fun. Find a way to earn and smell the roses at the same time. In this case we are, as we inspect the hotel we smell the bougainvillea and hibiscus.

More on the hotel and price in a moment. Here is point one…about global investing.

The Bloomberg article about Ecuador bond defaults says:

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador said it may default on a $30 million interest payment as a tumble in oil erodes export receipts, putting President Rafael Correa on the verge of fulfilling a two-year-old threat to repudiate the country’s debt.

Correa will use the 30-day grace period on the bond payment, which is due tomorrow, to analyze legal opinions, Finance Minister Maria Elsa Viteri said at a news conference in Quito.

Ecuador’s finances have come under strain as oil, which accounts for 60 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged 61 percent from a record high in July to $57.23 a barrel.

Ecuador, which last defaulted in 1999, needs an oil price of $95 to cover all the spending in its budget and a price of $76 to avoid depleting its $6.3 billion of foreign reserves, according to Barclays Capital Inc.

“They are burning reserves,” said Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, an emerging-markets analyst at Barclays. “The question is whether they will keep paying if oil prices don’t recover.”

Ecuador’s foreign debt totaled $10 billion as of September, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That’s equal to less than 25 percent of its $44 billion annual gross domestic product.

Correa, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, won a landslide victory in November 2006 after promising to rewrite the constitution and boost spending on the poor. He said in September that he’d suspend debt payments before trimming spending on education and health care.

Correa has done this once before in February 2007. He said he would miss a $135 million bond interest payment but then made it.

Before that payment was made, on February 12, I wrote about buying these bonds:

The point is this speculation may be a good value because the premium you are paid to take the risk is higher than need be.

Readers who read this and bought this bond then (before the payment was made) earned 20% over night.

This time the risk premium is even more! I believe there are two reasons for the current higher potential return.

First, Ecuador is more likely to default this time than last. Correa is under more pressure to fulfill promises he has made now than he was two years ago. He had just started office then. Now he is mid term and people expect him to deliver. He may decide to spend the money on education, etc. instead.

Second, bond markets and especially emerging bond markets have been hit by a huge dose of panic. All bonds are priced lower than normal.

The bond issue in question is a $510 million bond maturing in 2012. Prices for this bond have plunged as low as 14 cents on the dollar. At this price, the bond yields over 100%.

Imagine this. If you were to buy this bond now and Ecuador does not default, each year for over three years, you double your original investment. A $50,000 investment might earn over $150,000 of income during the three years. Then you get your $50,000 back.

ON THE DOWN SIDE though Standard & Poor’s has cut the country’s rating three levels today to CCC-. This translates to basket case. If Ecuador does default, you could end up making no profit and perhaps losing part of your original investment…though it is unlikely you would lose it all.

Point #2:

A reader sent this note “Gary–with Ecuador defaulting on its debt–why would one want to invest in Ecuador?”

This reader has probably never lived abroad and does not understand that living conditions can get better when you live in a country where economic conditions are down. Prices are 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. Ecuador did default on its bonds then.

So what? All this meant was that food, clothing, shelter, staff, everything local cost about 1/8th as much as it had. 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.

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.

I have lived through law and order breakdowns before, first time…when living in Hong Kong. Poverty created riots and bombs in the streets there in the late 1960s.

That was not fun.

Mind you, Hong Kong real estate prices went on to rise higher than almost anywhere in the world. Those troubled times were among the best for buying real estate…ever.

I saw problems with bombs in public places when I lived in London as well. In February 1991 the provisional IRA managed to actually launch mortars from a van 250 yards from the Prime Minister’s home at Number 10 Downing Street. One shell landed behind the residence and blew out the windows of the war office.

Closer to home, the bathroom door of Merri’s and my London house was jarred off its hinges when an explosive device was used to start a raid on the Iranian Embassy in 1980 after it had been taken over by Iranian Arab separatists. The embassy in South Kensington was near our house .

Did this ruin London?  London real estate prices have since risen to be among the highest in the world and Londoner’s standards of living have skyrocketed.

Problems create opportunity! Economic trouble in a country can create opportunity for those who have money to spend and invest.

Another worry that people have is that the Ecuadorian government will nationalize or confiscate property. There is little history to support this and such a seizure would make little sense.

Such concerns ignore the fact that there are all types of confiscation taking place everywhere…at every level…even in the good old USA.

One family at my last course told me how, for decades, they had been buying property to build low cost housing. They have prepared many of the properties so they followed the zoning ordinances so they could build. Now the municipality has changed rules so they can no longer build.

Taxes are increased. New rules are added and fines levied for non compliance of new zoning ordinances. Costs and problems have risen so dramatically that these developers have had to abandon some of their property to the municipality. After foreclosure the municipality has built the same low cost housing…but obviously less efficiently.

The argument here is not that Ecuador is better than the USA or England or Hong Kong, etc.

The argument here is not that Ecuador has no risk.

The two points are that the perception of risk may be overblown and the premium for taking the risk is high as well.

Plus Ecuador is a great place to be…especially in the winter.

Risk is everywhere.

Ask not, “Where is there no risk?”

Ask instead. “How much is the real risk and how much am I paid to take it?”

Find interesting (for yourself) investments that pay high risk premiums.

Find delightful places where YOU want to be where the cost of living is too low.

Until next message, good global investing and Ecuador living.

Gary

This brings us back to where we started working hard…looking at this hotel for sale. Nine bathrooms, about 15 bedroms.

Ecuador-hotel-for-sale

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

ecuador-real-estate-risk

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

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

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.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

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

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

Ecuador Perceptions


Ecuador perceptions create opportunity.

What’s in a Word?

What can the perception of a phrase like “communist” or “terrorist” mean for us as investors?

There is opportunity in these words because most people never look beyond
the perception that has been endorsed by the establishment.  They react without  thought about the reality of a situation.

Let me share an example.

Merri and I love nature. We live pretty much in the wild. Our farm in North Carolina  is in an area so remote it is called “The Lost Province”.

Our hacienda in Ecuador is even more remote.

Yet our reclusive lifestyle was not always the case.  After spending my college years in downtown Portland, Oregon, I moved to Hong Kong, one of the most crowded cities in the world.

After moving to San Francisco I finally lived many years in London, one of the largest cities in the world.

London.  What a great city. I loved living there.  This was a really fun place and part of the fun was Ken Livingstone, the mayor at that time. He was so left wing we all called him “Red Ken”.

I mention “Red Ken” because many readers write to me expressing concern about the political stability of Rafael Correa and Ecuador.  The three words most frequently in the writing of these concerns are “populist”, “Chavez” and “left wing.”

Many people fear anything that seems to be left wing.

Ken Livingstone was so far left and such an unconventional and controversial politician that during the Cold War era he sponsored such events such as ‘Babies Against the Bomb’,and declared London a ‘nuclear-free zone’.

He not only was a “communist” but also endorsed terrorists.

Livingstone even extended an official invitation to terrorist leaders of the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Féin.  Britain denied entry to the invitees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, so Livingstone met them in Northern Ireland instead.  Livingstone said that Britain’s treatment of the Irish over the last 800 years had been worse than Adolf Hitler’s treatment of Jews.

His actions were so left wing that he acquired the nickname ‘Red Ken’ and one British magazine dubbed Livingstone ‘Leninspart’.

Yet during Red Ken, the communist’s reign, London became one of the most affluent cities in the world.

Another example can be seen when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1968.  The Chinese communists were rioting. The first day I arrived in 1968 a British police officer had his leg blown off by a communist bomb.  We were taught at the office how to spot bombs in the street.  The Chinese army was massed at the border. These were the days of the war in Viet Nam and the “communist” threat seemed real to many.  Investors were fleeing Hong Kong left and right. I and a few others stayed.

Those who invested heavily in Hong Kong then, became some of the richest people in the world.

Those who saw the underlying reality and ignored the noise made by political manipulation and the local press made fortunes.

Another example is in Cotacachi.  Merri and I have been investing and living here for years while the mayor there, Auki Tituaña Males is so apparently left wing, there is a huge photo of him and Fidel Castro together on city hall.  That puts some people off!  Fidel Castro a communist!

Yet we have seen this mayor create a social economic system that has transformed the village into one of the nicest areas we know.  Prosperity has grown by leaps and bounds. What has happened over these eight years is remarkable!

Mostly I ignore politicians and the press and look for the deeper fundamentals that drive economics. i know that economics always drives the politics in the long run… not the other way round. Those who rise above and get ahead of political noise are the ones who profit most when the finances shift the politicians.

Places that have brought me the greatest profit are those where the political words and symbols look shaky but the economic fundamentals look good!

Whether Correa, the President of Ecuador is good or bad…I do not know.  A lot of what he says rings true to me…but I have been fooled before.

Will Correa’s actions have an impact on business in Ecuador?  Of course…but my belief is that his influence will not be as bad as many think.   He may even do some  good.

Thus I see bargains that abound in Ecuador because the majority is worrying about the inconsequential words, the noise, the small stuff and most of all the unlikely.  They argue over the scraps and leave the best for the few of us who look deeper.

I have been in Ecuador fourteen years and see little difference in the political noise today than when we arrived. the president then was a mad man (they called him El Loco) changing the constitution. Today we have another President changing the constitution. This President is not so crazy in my opinion.  Is he good? Only time will tell.

I have learned my lesson from London and Hong Kong!  Bring on the words that scare. They create opportunity.

Merri  and I really enjoy living in Ecuador.  When we look through the political noise, we see huge progress in living conditions, sweet non violent people, a wonderful climate…an abundance of sunshine and excellent food.

So we are buying as much real estate there as fast as we can based on our experienced view.

Had we been worry warts for the past 14 years because this or that might have happened we would have missed amazing good fortune…wonderful people…great weather…low cost living…excellent investments…and an amazing lesson that Ecuador’s rich culture has to share.

Of course there are others who are more afraid of George Bush, the US economy, the falling dollar and the American system. There are no guarantees here either.

Our advice on investing and business is to always look first for a place or task you love.  When you find it, go for it!  Take your chances.  Whatever we do, wherever we go, there is risk…so enjoy the process and look for places where fear, due to words and not fundamentals create extra opportunity.  What is within is usually more important than what is without.

We feel as safer or safer in Ecuador as in the US.  Only the future will tell which place will turn out better.  My guess is that both will be great.  I am quite happy with being double lucky but fully accept that no one can predict the future.

However, we expect to invest even more both in Ecuador and the USA. We love both places so we will enjoy the process whatever the outcome.  I look forward to sharing with you what we do and what happens.

That is our perception.

Until next message, may all you perceptions be clear.

Gary

Join us in the cool Blue Ridge while much of the U.S. burns up this summer.  We enjoy cool nights (mid 50s) sleeping under blankets without screens (translation-there are no mosquitoes here). Rarely does it reach 80 during the day and if it does a quick dip in the creek cools us right down. We have farmhouses, cottages, cabins and cottages you can stay in and enjoy. Rockers on the front porch (best for watching fireflies at night and eating sunny breakfasts), quiet pools to chill watermelon, waterfalls in which to soak, horses to chase, chickens and ducks to feed and we would enjoy meeting you.

Everyone who comes wants to come back and right now we can treat you to some fresh blackberry pie!
Cool-mountain-retreat

During breaks in the course join me for a hike in the woods.
We have a space left for you to join us this August 15-17, and learn about intuitive investing at Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.

Or join us October 3-5 for the Blue Ridge leaf change. International Investing and Business Made EZ  North Carolina

autumn-leaf-change

Enjoy the autumn leaf change in October.

Or enjoy one of our courses or tours in Ecuador

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour

ecuador-beach-restaurant

While others worry about politics our tour groups find opportunity and enjoy wonderful seafood lunches at open air restaurants like this.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Ecuador each hammocks

The future cannot be predicted but this is here…now.

Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Ecuador beach house

Here is a house we inspected on our last coastal real estate tour for sale at $25,000.

Ecuador Import Export Course

International Investing and Business Made
EZ Ecuador

See discounts for attending more than
one course.