Tag Archive | "Taliban"

Retire & Earn Abroad


Here is another reason to Retire and & Earn Abroad.

Yesterday’s message on lifestyle and Ecuador diversification was really backed up by Uncle Sam quickly!

Whether you retire in Ecuador or anywhere outside your home.. you want diversification. See why below!

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One benefit of retiring in Ecuador is that it can help the poor there.

Yesterday’s article worried about weather change being called a threat to national security and wondered if this concept could further erode human rights.

I never imagined the very next day we would have even more concern… yet an article by James Risen in the New York Times entitled:  “U.S. to Hunt Down Afghan Drug Lords Tied to Taliban” must give us pause.

Here is an excerpt:  WASHINGTON — Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed, reflecting a major shift in American counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, according to a Congressional study to be released this week.

United States Marines on a recent raid in Helmand Province. Under a new policy, drug traffickers are subject to being killed.

United States military commanders have told Congress that they are convinced that the policy is legal under the military’s rules of engagement and international law. They also said the move is an essential part of their new plan to disrupt the flow of drug money that is helping finance the Taliban insurgency.

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Part of our work at Meson de las Flores was to continue a policy at our hotel to feed the poor. We always keep a pot of nutritious stew on the stove and our less fortunate are welcome any time of the day.  Above is one of our regular guests.

The problem is that the erosion of rights creeps upon us in small steps… like income tax. When to raise revenue to fund the Civil War, an income tax was introduced in the United States with the Revenue Act of 1861. It was a flat rate tax of 3% on annual income above $800.

When the idea was contested on concerns that the tax, once established, would grow, one Congressman stated that there was no way the population would let the tax ever be higher than 3%.   Yet a year later  flat tax this was replaced with a graduated tax of 3-5% on income above $600 in the Revenue Act of 1862.

This act made tax temporary ending in 1866.  Regretfully, perhaps, in 1866, income tax collections reached their highest point ever, over $310 million.  This made the tax popular and today we can see the effects of the small steps… one freedom eroded at a time.

So where does the legal right to kill drug dealers lead?  If it is legal to kill Afghan drug dealers to disrupt the flow of drug money that finance insurgency, what about drug dealers in Mexico that are financing insurgency in the US?  Can we kill them too?  If so, how about if we catch them in the US, can we kill them there?   If so what if they are US citizens or residents?  Can we still kill them?  Can the army become involved… in the name of national security?  Do they have to check a person’s passport before they shoot the drone at them?

These are tough calls, but somehow making it legal for the army to kill non combatants seems like a small step in the wrong direction.

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Merri and I visiting a village that our foundation supports… helping the old and supporting the young by improving their school.  This is a fulfilling retirement activity.

Yet loss of rights is not the only reason we might want to live or retire in Ecuador or elsewhere, full or part time, for diversification.

The rising cost of living makes it difficult to retire in the West.  Plus though taxes are rising… benefits for those who retire are not.

A recent BBC article “Pension age could rise further” shows how the rot in England has grown. An excerpt says:  The state pension retirement age could be increased further, the UK’s pensions regulator has told the BBC.

David Norgrove said rising life expectancy meant millions of people would “undoubtedly” have to wait longer in future to draw a state pension.

People will not save as much for retirement as in the past, with many people “frightened” to do so, he said.

The state pension age is due to rise to 68, and Pensions Minister Angela Eagle said there were no plans to raise that.

Currently, the state pension age is 60 for women and 65 for men, but four years ago Lord Turner published a report calling for it to rise to 68 for everyone by 2044.

But Mr Norgrove said he thought it would end up higher.

Mr Norgrove said: “People are going to have to work longer, partly because we’re not going, as a nation, to save as much for retirement as we did in the past.” He added: “The government’s recent legislation is increasing the state retirement age progressively to 68. I think it will end up higher than that.”

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Part of our program is to get readers who retire in Ecuador involved helping the poor.  We also offer roses and donate the proceeds to help people like this charming woman.  See more about her, and how the roses help, here.

Another reason to retire in Ecuador is that business opportunity seems to be rising there as it falls in the north.

A recent USA Today article. “Business bankruptcies up 240% since 2006”, by Christine Dugas outlines a US retirement and lifestyle problem.  Here is an excerpt of that article:

Entrepreneurship and new small businesses are supposed to lead us out of the recession, just as they have in prior downturns, right?  Sure.

Your neighbor’s grand idea will persuade a bank to lend her start-up money; she’ll open for business in six weeks; and money will immediately flow from customers to her to her employees. Taxes will be paid, and the national economic engine will hum effortlessly in no time. If only.

Today shows a different reality: Commercial bankruptcies are surging. Fewer people are starting small businesses, and firms already open are struggling under changing consumer habits, a lack of funding options and tougher bankruptcy laws. If a nationwide trend seen since January holds true, more than 300 businesses will file for bankruptcy today alone.

The first five months of this year have shown a 52% increase in the total number of commercial bankruptcy filings (36,106) compared with the same period last year (23,829), according to the Automated Access to Court Electronic Records. On average thus far in 2009, some 350 commercial enterprises file for bankruptcy daily an increase of 240% from 2006, the first year after the bankruptcy law was changed.

Major corporate failures, like GM and Chrysler, flash across front pages and websites. But the vast majority of commercial bankruptcies, which are not separated by size of firm by data keepers, are filed by entrepreneurs and small-business owners, says Robert Lawless, professor of law at University of Illinois.

Troubling for the economy, say Lawless and Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association, is the double-whammy of fewer start-ups and increasing bankruptcies.

“In the past, small-business formation increased in a recession because people had self-employment thrust upon them,” he says. “One avenue out of economic hard times self-employment has become less attractive, because the bankruptcy law is less forgiving” and there are fewer options for those entrepreneurs to get bank loans or to find funding elsewhere.

Small business is considered the backbone of the economy. In the past, new businesses led economic recoveries, McCracken says. Small businesses  those with fewer than 500 employees  make up half of the gross domestic product and account for most job growth.

Problems from the devastated housing market, overall recession and suffering major industries all funnel down to small businesses, especially those that supply the troubled corporations.

Household spending cutbacks reach far, too. Dual-income families who are now single-income may no longer need or be able to afford child care, so many of those services are going out of business, says Lester Thompson, a bankruptcy lawyer in Dayton. Sporting goods stores and lawn-mowing services also have struggled.

Small-business bankruptcy filings jumped the most in the Los Angeles and Chicago metro areas, according to Equifax. But even smaller areas of the country are experiencing a big increase.

Many small businesses owe so much money to creditors that there is no future. Such owners often file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and shut their businesses for good.

The credit crunch is a major contributor to the rise in filings.

Loan dollar volume from the U.S. Small Business Administration has increased 35% since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed on Feb. 17, according to the SBA. Even so, a National Federation of Independent Business trend report states that in May the percentage of business owners reporting that loans are harder to get rose to 16%, the highest reading since the 1980-82 recession.

With that reality, and loath to dip into their retirement savings, struggling small-business owners have few options other than bankruptcy. When the bankruptcy law changed in 2005 it was mostly aimed at curbing abuse of personal bankruptcy filing. But it also singled out small businesses for harsher treatment, and those changes did not apply to larger corporations, Lawless says.

Bankruptcy is still the only option for many small-business owners who are hanging by a thread.

This is why the idea of living or retiring in Ecuador or elsewhere, at least part time,  for diversification and global earning potential makes sense because opportunity is growing elsewhere.

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Nothing makes our retirement problems diminish faster than helping those who have even greater needs.

An excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal article “Ecuador’s Business Confidence Index Up” by Mercedes Alvaro says: QUITO (Dow Jones)–Ecuador’s Business Confidence Index, measured by Deloitte and Touche, surged 5% in May to 93.2 points, compared with May 2008, the company said in its monthly report.

Deloitte said the index recovered by 31% in May against April, returning to the levels registered during the last quarter of 2008.

The Index’ recovery is largely due to the waning perception among executives of a deterioration of the country’s economic and political conditions, it said.

Deloitte found that 45% of those surveyed are less optimistic about the economy compared with April, while 52% perceive no change.

The slow but steady increase in oil prices and the revival of the global economy are grounds for expecting that the economy in Ecuador could improve by year’s end or in early 2010.

Questioned about the performance of their businesses, 34% said they had lower sales compared to the previous months and 39% reported revenues down on the same period of last year.

The survey found 20% reported a reduction in their workforce compared to the previous month.

Around 57% of the business leaders surveyed said that the country’s socio-economic situation makes it difficult to attract foreign investment.

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We should help our neighbors at home as well. This is why we are developing environmentally sensitive, sustainable programs to encourage value-added, employment in the Blue Ridge as well.

I have written many times about the benefits of retiring in Small Town USA for lifestyle diversification as well. See more on lifestyle diversification at Inspired to Retire

We can see below why diversification remains important even if we retire in Ecuador.

Just because we want to live or retire in Ecuador does not mean that Ecuador does not have its own creeping erosion of rights problems as well.  An August 3 news.Yahoo article says: Correa: Ecuador to take over radio, TV stations.  QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa says “many” radio and TV frequencies will revert to state control due to what he’s calling irregularities.  The president has been at war with Ecuador’s news media since taking office in January 2007. He has called TV stations and newspapers corrupt and mediocre, and twice fined an opposition broadcaster.  Correa did not specify Monday what sort of abuses or irregularities broadcasters have committed. Nor did he name any alleged offenders.

An August 5th update on this matter in the Wall Street Journal says: Ecuador Govt Braces For Reaction To Radio, TV Takeovers

QUITO (Dow Jones)–Ecuador’s government is expecting “strong reactions” to a report that will determine which television and radio stations will revert to state control.

Antonio Garcia, chairman of Ecuador’s National Radio and Television Board, said Wednesday that a report will be issued next week on which stations the government will take over.

President Rafael Correa’s government has alleged that a number of stations received their broadcasting concessions illegitimately and said that “many” would revert to state hands.

Correa’s announcement came on the heels of the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Ecuadorian president’s close ally, shutting down 34 privately-owned radio stations last weekend.

An initial report by an Ecuadorian government commission last year found that 236 of 1,637 frequencies had obtained their concessions illegally.

Garcia brushed off what he called “alarmist accounts” that all radio and television stations will revert to state control and that the government is looking at them on a case-by-case basis.”

He said that some media outlets, however, are “trying to misinform” viewers and listeners.

We’ll stay tuned to what happens with this takeover  at our Ecuador Living  Service.

The greatest asset for diversification is the ability to earn wherever you live and to keep your investments safe.

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

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

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

See details of the two seminar below.

Here is Thomas Fischer talking with seminar delegates at a recent international investing course that I co hosted with Jyske Global Asset Management.

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

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

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Seminar delegates visiting Otavalo market looking for Ecuador export ideas.

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

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

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

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

Learn more about the power of  Ecuador export ideas

See WSJ article Ecuador’s government braces for reaction

See NYT article U.S. to Hunt Down Afghan Drug Lords Tied to Taliban

Ecuador Iran Excerpt


A number of readers have asked about Ecuador and Iran so here is an excerpt from our latest Ecuador Living report.

Some of the ideas apply to interaction between radicals in all of the Middle East and the West and how they can affect our wealth, business and investing.

The idea that Iran is a great enemy intent on attacking us is great for selling news, but a bad leader or two does not reflect the entire population.  Many of us in the US did not agree with some of the leaders our the last administration.

IF  Iran is to become more involved in the West and that’s a very big IF, I do not see it being any great deal. The only risk Iran poses is if many people give them a lot more concern then they deserve… as certain leaders in the West gave Saddam Hussein.

I do not claim in any way to be a great global military strategist but that thinking has some support from the thinking of other  who I do think are good at strategic global thought such as… Lee Kwan Yew.

I worked and spent a lot of time in Singapore during the late 1960s and early 1970s so I recall vividly the way Singapore used to be.

Lee Kwan Yew had a lot to do with Singapore emerging from a form of colonialism that included a lot of poverty to one of the wealthiest societies in the world.

This means it is fitting to read some of Lee Kwan Yew’s thinking that could apply to Ecuador and Iran now.

Lee Kuan Yew outlines the risks of relying on the local press succinctly in a 2007 interview with  UPI’s editor at large, Arnaud de Borchgrave.

Q: So what is your recommendation about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

A: Is it now unstoppable. They are a very old civilization. Unlike the Arabs, apart from Mesopotamia valley, they rank with the Chinese, as history’s two principal civilizations worth talking about. And I think the mullahs and others want to go back to the days of empire.

Q: So should we be talking to them at the highest level, the way Henry Kissinger went to China?

A: (Chuckle) But you haven’t got a Kissinger or a Brzezinski to do that anymore. Where is the successor generation of geopoliticians?

Q: In fact, democracies don’t produce great statesmen anymore. Why?

A: You now have, and I don’t know how long this phase will last, mass media domination, owned by a group of media barons who want constant change for their balance sheets.

Q: So the power of mass media has made it impossible for a great statesman or woman to emerge and last any length of time?

A: I’m not sure. It depends on the nature of the crisis that must be faced. When a real crisis sets in, a matter of life and death, opinion formulators realize this is no time to be pontificating, but a time to stay the course with someone who understands what this is all about.   Short of that, the media help put a leader on the pedestal and then start chopping away at the pedestal until he/she falls in disgrace. That’s part of the cycle of constant change. Watch Sarkozy in France. They hoisted him up to prominence and now they’re already attempting to bring him down through his personal life.  Well, yes. But it’s also the enormous pressure of media competition and the giant appetite for advertising revenue, what television program gets what viewership, or eyeballs, or clicks online. Never mind the consequences. If you get the advertising, you win.

Q: When I last interviewed you in May 2001, I asked you what concerned you most about the next 10 years, and you replied, “an Islamist bomb, and mark my words, it will travel.” Four months later, we had Sept. 11. Secondly you said, “China and India’s challenge to the global status quo.” Do you still have the same concerns about the next 10 years?

A: Not quite. The Islamic bomb has traveled already (in Iran). I’m not sure how this will now play out. The U.S., the Europeans, even the Russians, will have to make up their minds whether to allow Iran to go nuclear. The Russians are playing a game, posing as the nice guys with Iran, supplying nuclear fuel, and making it look as if America is causing all this trouble. But if I were Russia today, I would be very worried about Iran acquiring the bomb, because Russia is more at risk than America. The risk Israel runs is another dimension. Russia is at risk because whether it’s the Chechens or Central Asian Muslim states that were former Soviet republics, none are friendly to Moscow. Next time there’s an explosion in Moscow, it may be a suicide bomber who isn’t wearing an explosive belt or jacket, but something a lot bigger. It would certainly be in Russia’s interest to say at some future point to Iran, “this far and no further.” It could also be that Russia no longer knows how to stop it, in which case the Russians will be opening the door to a very dangerous world of nuclear proliferation. You can be quite sure that if and when Iran gets the bomb, the Middle East will go nuclear.

Q: Which raises the question of the United States or Israel bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

A: (long silent pause) … I can express no views on that.

Q: As I travel in moderate Muslim states in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, I ask heads of state and government how many extremists, or would-be jihadis, they estimate live in their midst, also how many fundamentalists who support openly or secretly the jihadi cause. The answer is usually 1 percent and 10 percent. In a country like Pakistan, that translates to 1.6 million extremists and 16 million supporters. On a global scale, that comes out to roughly 14 million extremists and 140 million sympathizers.

A: Yes, but I do not see them winning, and by that I mean able to impose their extremist system. I can see them inducing fear and insecurity, and causing fear, but they don’t have the technology and the organization to overwhelm any government.

Q: So how do you assess the global threat since Sept. 11? What are we doing that’s right and also that’s wrong?

A: Even if we can’t win, we mustn’t lose or tire. We cannot allow them to believe they have a winning strategy, and that more suicide bombers and WMD will advance their cause and give them a chance to take over.

Q: Did Iraq have anything to do with al-Qaida?

A: Of course not, as became clear in the daily sessions the imprisoned Saddam spent with his Arabic-speaking FBI interrogator over several months before his execution. But U.S. authorities were convinced Saddam was secretly supporting al-Qaida with weapons and training and maybe even WMD. So therefore the imperative became the elimination of Saddam.

A: (Laughs for several seconds) We should learn to live with it for a long time. My fear is Pakistan may well get worse. What is the choice? (President) Musharraf is the only general I know who is totally secular in his approach. But he’s got to maneuver between his extremists who are sympathetic to Taliban and al-Qaida and moderate elements with a Western outlook. We forget that right after Sept. 11 he was given a stark choice by President Bush: either you abandon your support of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan or face the disintegration of Pakistan. There is an interesting study of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency that says 20 percent of the Pakistani army’s officer corps is fundamentalist.

A: There is very little, if anything, the U.S. can do to influence the course of events in Pakistan that wouldn’t make matters worse. Any U.S. interference in Pakistan would result in Pakistan’s four provinces becoming four failed states. And then what happens to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal? It’s a horrendous festering problem. The Feb. 18 elections may bring a little clarity and hopefully democratic stability to Pakistan, but I am not holding my breath.

Q: So you do feel that NATO’s future is at stake in Afghanistan?

A: No doubt about it. But you should also realize Afghanistan cannot succeed as a democracy. You attempted too much. Let the warlords sort it out in such a way you don’t try to build a new state. The British tried it and failed. Just make clear if they commit aggression again and offer safe haven to Taliban, they will be punished.

Q: If NATO collapsed in the wake of a failed campaign in Afghanistan, would that be a major concern of yours in Singapore?

A: Not immediately, but overall the balance of power would be upset.

Q: In whose favor?

A: China and Russia. They would be faced with a much weakened West in the ongoing global contest. I can also see the danger if America loses heart and says to hell with it all because the Europeans are not helping and the Japanese are blocking this and that, and tokenism from all the others. Let’s not forget that what we’re all enjoying today is the result of Pax Britannica and Pax America over the past 100 years. So don’t give it up.

Q: But in the Gulf, if the U.S. and/or Israel bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran has formidable asymmetrical retaliatory capabilities?

A: But let me repeat, they cannot conquer you. Hezbollah cannot conquer Lebanon. They can create trouble for the non-Hezbollah Lebanese. So micro actors can cause a lot of trouble for your friends, but they can’t eradicate them.

You can read this entire report as an Ecuador Living subscriber and see why if there were to be a military concern in Latin America it would be over China…not Iran..

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There were two articles readers have recently mentioned.

The first article began, QUITO – Iran will finance two new power plants in Ecuador and extend a 40-million-dollar loan for business development, officials from both countries said Thursday, three months after the first visit by an Ecuadoran president to Tehran.

The second:  Iran, Ecuador Eye Military Ties As U.S. Prepares to Withdraw from Airbase Friday, May 29, 2009, by Patrick Goodenough, (CNSNews.com) – As the United States military prepares to vacate an airbase in Ecuador in the fall, the leftist government responsible for its upcoming departure is looking to Iran as a future military partner.

While I do not feel that nuclear power or expanded military might are good things, I do believe completely in the global economy and in expanding the wealth of all.

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trout pond.

One can argue about all the numerous conflicts in the world but if we boil it down to the few most important, one of the biggest tensions in today’s society is that there are a few very wealthy people and many, many poor.

For decades my premise for economic expansion has been based in part on the belief that most people, if given a choice, will spend their time doing positive things, like working at something they love for increased material wealth and great fulfillment rather than living a guerilla’s life.  A poor soldier’s living conditions are  generally not pleasant… the pay low… the risk extreme.  That life, however, is better than one of complete hopelessness and despair.

If Ecuador Iran cooperation can help make more poor Ecuadorians and Iranians rise out of poverty… I say…”go for it!”

There are many potential and huge benefits to be gained by bringing Iranian business to the West. Maybe Iran being closer to the West will help it integrate?  Current events in Iran suggest that many of the population would be happy to do so.

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I have had an opportunity to observe Correa and the people of Ecuador react for a couple of years now.  At times I have been quite close… such as when I took this photo.

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Correa is in a strong political situation at this time. One thing that could destroy his popularity quickly would be the perception in this 90% Catholic country that he is introducing Islamic radicalism.  Therefore Correa may line up with Iran for some money… and to gain leverage in his dealings with the West… but a major integration would surprise me very much.   One bombing in an American hotel in Quito or Guayaquil and Correa’s popularity would be toast.

There have been worries about his friendship with Chavez. There are these worries of Correa with Iran. There have been worries about South America pulling away from the US dollar.

Yet so far none of these fears have affected life, happiness, opportunity, real estate values or  law and order in Ecuador.

In short anyone who never heard of or ignored all these fears and moved optimistically forward is better of than those who did not.

Most of the press are writing about the world sliding into recession. Many articles in the Western press make it sound like there’s little opportunity and great danger everywhere.

Good. Their doom and gloom creates positive global investing opportunity for those of us who can see through the illusion.

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Regards,

Gary

We hope you’ll join us to learn more business and investing opportunities globally as well as Ecuador.

July 4-8 Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 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.

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.