Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ecuador Makes Headlines

Well, by now most everyone has heard about the 'difficulties' we had here in Ecuador a couple days ago.  I need to write about it before I forget it.  I don't mean that it was totally forgettable; I just mean that in about a week I will have no idea about when it happened or how it changed anything.  This was not 9-11, folks.  This wasn't the Watts riots of LA.   This was not a great tsunami flood.  This wasn't even an Iowa blizzard or flood.  World events are things that change us and how we perceive the world in general.  This was not a world event.  So what was it then?  Well, I'm not really sure.  I think it had something to do with some people not making as much money as they wanted.  Imagine that.  If a group of people (policia ala Barnio Fifo) decide they don't like things a certain way and they have guns and were issued a bullet today, trouble is always a possibility. Now how these collective Barnios got the 150 collective Gomerio Pylitos in the military to side with them is beyond me.  I think it must have been a mixture of:   "Damn, we haven't run this president out of office yet and he's been in here for FIVE YEARS!"  and "Hey, guys, if we do a demonstration maybe we can get a raise and we'll get that new Samsung!"

It is true that Correa is a bit of a theatrical peacock, but I'm actually on his side on this one.  The motives behind this uprising weren't the sorts of things that stir your soul like 'Remember the Alamo' or 'Give me liberty or give me death'.  The bad guys in this case were the ones that raised the trouble in the first place.  They're all fired, some or most of them in jail, and who knows how many got hurt or worse.  Is there some angst against Presidente Correa in this bet there is.  Does everyone love President Obama in the US?  Not.  Does Correa control the press?  Well, pretty much.  Television journalism in Ecuador doesn't have the same 'standards' as in the US.  But there again, change your channels from CNN to Fox News and you'll find a different flavor as well.  Who tells the truth?  You decide.

I'll be glad when this all blows over.  It already has here.  For us in Cuenca it was a late morning and early afternoon of 'what’s going on?’  The banks closed for the afternoon, most shops closed, the schools let out, and I wasn't able to buy my delicious Ecuadorian bacon.  That was the extent of my inconvenience and horror.  The next day I got my bacon and the girls at the meat counter in the Coopera were as friendly as ever.  The streets and shops were all back to normal.  Life goes merrily along and yes the dogs still bark.

For those of you who have altered your thinking about whether to retire in Ecuador because of this put it all in perspective.  If you read a little history, you'll see that Ecuador has a unique but total democracy.  If things get bad here, the president is gone.  Trust me.  I finally found it in print the other day and I wish I had got a quote on it, but it goes something like this:  'The military and the police are not allegiant to the President; they are allegiant to the People'.  Before you start thinking anarchy, don't.  It works here.  It always has.  Ask the Incas, ask the Spanish.  It's not about a society of people that want to impose their will on the rest of the world.  We're too small for that here in Ecuador.  I don't think we even have an F-16.   But don't try to invade Ecuador either.  We'll send the Shuar after you and you'll definitely regret it.  Ask Peru.