El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Descendit; Incarnatus est; Passus Sepultus est.

22 things that will shock you in ecuador

There´s a few things in Ecuador that will straight shock you when you see them…

…like when…

1.You see Ecuadorian males drown their French fries in Mayonnaise.

2. You see milk in unrefrigerated boxes on the shelves of grocery stores.

3. You pay $1 for a taxi ride in Quito, Cuenca or many of the small towns in Ecuador.

4. You see resumes in Ecuador with people´s picture, birth date, marital status and more.

5. That 100% of Ecuadorian grade schools require their kids to use uniforms.

6. The price tag of Levis Jeans, iPhones or Apple Computers in Ecuador (about triple that of the USA).

7. The sheer number of policemen in the streets, it may seem as though Ecuador tries to employ their entire male population as police or taxi drivers.

8. How Ecuadorians can drive while simultaneously leaning on their horns.

9. How Chicken soup in Ecuador will often have a chicken foot floating in it.

10. The mysterious lack of automatic cars.

11. You see the Ecuador delicacy of Bulls Penis soup (Caldo de Tronquito).

12. That in the Amazon there actually aren´t that many mosquitos at all.

13. That gas prices are still around $1.50 a gallon and water bills for a small house can be as low as $4.

14. Things like pay phones and internet computer centers in the street still exist and thrive.

15. How cars retain value. Seriously, you can buy a used car, use it for a few years and sell it for about what you paid for it!

16. How Ecuadorians love to drink beer, I mean a lot of beer, on the beach.

17. The sight of magazines with nude girls on the streets.

18. When you see the Ecuadorian remedy for hangovers… fish soup early in the morning (encebollado).

19. When you see the free public hospitals and free public universities.  Like it should be, right?

20. How many Ecuadorian guys believe with every fiber of their being that it’s OK to be unfaithful but it’s a horrible, unforgiveable sin if their woman is unfaithful to them.This is not just an Ecuador thing, but actually more of a belief present throughout Latin America.  Not that I mind double standards that benefit me.  

21. How getting the internet is not a given if living deep in the Ecuador countryside.

22. How the streets are lined with pirated DVD shops.  Want a new copy of Windows 7, sure, $5 please.

Dom Buonamici
Expat in Ecuador
Quito Airport Suites
Murali Hostal Guayaquil
Montanita Vacation Rental

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Hide Your Money Where the Bankers Won’t Find It

P. Henry
 March 27th, 2013
The Prepper Journal

Unless you have been on vacation the past few days or out of touch with the never ending news media we live in you have seen or heard about the event in Cyprus. For those who haven’t heard, the short story is that the IMF has pushed for a “wealth tax” in Cyprus which would involve taking money directly out of the bank accounts of the people. That’s right, stealing in broad daylight with no apologies whatsoever. The IMF is saying that the people of Cyprus need to pay back the bankers who stole and lost their money. This is done with the threat of being kicked out of the Euro zone if they refuse. Make no mistake, this is a trial run and they will be coming for money in your accounts very soon.

So, what can you do about it? Can you put your money in stocks? What about investments like property or fancy cars? My opinion is that nothing is safe. If your money is out of your reach and stored in any type of financial institution it can be stolen. Before I go any further let me state what should be obvious to most of you.
Warning #1: Whatever you do with your money, you do at your own risk.

Now, that being said, where would you put your money if you can’t stick it in the bank? Well, first let me address why we put money into the banks in the first place. It used to be that our money was safe in the bank and for the privilege of letting banks hold on to our money and invest it we were paid back in interest. Over time, neither of these two reasons is valid anymore. You will not see any return on a traditional checking or saving account and as recent events like the MF Global scandal prove, your money can be taken and there is nothing you can do about it.

I recommend you keep only enough money in the bank that you need to operate your daily finances, cover checks and your normal Debit Card purchases. Any savings should be “stored” somewhere else if you don’t want to be like the people of Cyprus who flocked to empty ATM machines and were faced with a bank holiday for 4 days. Just imagine going to your bank and they tell you that you are unable to get any of YOUR money out for 4 days. Where do you put this money? Great question and it will really depend on how much you have, where you live, how liquid you need it to be and your resources. All of this falls under the umbrella of how afraid you are that something like this could happen to you and your tolerance for risk.
Warning #2: Just because you hide money doesn’t mean someone else can’t find it.

There are a ton of options for hiding things and they are only limited to your creativity. If you are going to hide money, I would take extra precautions. Especially, if you plan on seeing this money again someday. For ideas, here are a few:

Secret compartment in everyday items:

There are a myriad of places and containers that can be made to look like normal everyday items. There is a Scribd.com post with plenty of photos and ideas. My personal favorite is the VHS tape hideout. I can see this holding a few hundred dollars if you play it right. There is another article (one of many) that illustrates good hiding places on Urlesque.com. Another idea I have heard of is to hide bills in the contents of old bank statements, junk mail for home refinance, etc. Anything that looks like junk will be overlooked most likely, but remember… You don’t want to throw this away when you are cleaning up one day.

In the walls of your home:

This approach takes a little more carpentry skills and will leave a bigger mark when you go to find your money. Do you hide it all in one spot? No, so there is more work involved in this approach and you want to make sure your handiwork isn’t easy to spot. If you have never dry walled, it may take a little practice.

In the attic:

Hands down the easiest place to store your money. Unfortunately, this is also a logical place to look. If you are going to hide your money up in the attic, spread it out so that if your stash is found, they might not find all of it.

In the basement:

If you have exposed ceiling joists, you can hide money between the insulation and the floor above. For a little extra level of difficulty, you should hide the money above plumbing or HVAC ducting to make it doubly hard to get to.

Buried in the yard:

I like this idea, but the nagging fear is that someone will see me digging a hole and go dig up my money in the middle of the night while I lie in bed. You can combine this with a garden or yard fixture project where you are out digging anyway to avoid suspicion. Or, break out the new pair of night vision goggles you have been dying to try, get up at 4 am and dig your hole in the pitch black night when you have no moon. Imagine you are breaking out of prison for extra motivation.

Hidden in a secret cache in a remote location:

I talked about using the game of Geocaching to teach you how to find hidden caches. You can also use this to find a good hiding spot somewhere near (but not too near) your home. Make the place you are hiding money very well hidden so that nobody will stumble across it accidentally. I would recommend midway up a hill because you never know when a flood will come and buried several feet underground.
Warning #3: Just because you hide your money doesn’t mean you will be able to get to it when you need it.

Again, use your best judgment with these ideas. Having your money safe from bankers does you no good if it gets washed away or found by hikers out exploring. Worse, if your house burns down and all of your cash is in the attic. Take appropriate precautions with everything but consider an alternate place to store your money. You may need it soon and not have the ability to go get it from your bank.

Monday, March 25, 2013

97 events will celebrate the Easter Quiteña 2013

Culture, religion, tradition and cuisine come together to exalt the celebration of Holy Week as part of the agenda of the 'Quito Easter 2013', which includes nearly a hundred events organized by the Metropolitan District of Quito, Quito through tourism.

The presentation of the programming was done by Luz Elena Coloma, Quito Tourism manager, who detailed the activities and invited Quito and tourists to join these demonstrations of faith in our capital, which this year celebrates 35 years of being recognized as First Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In his speech, Mayor Augusto Barrera said that Easter has been, from various dimensions, an important moment in the construction of cultural heritage. "These 97 acts that will be presented during these two weeks give value to these religious and cultural expressions," he said.

The program, which starts on Sunday 17 March, includes a large number of events that make up the liturgical calendar, the rituals of faith and tradition in rural parishes, fanesca food festival, the Concert of Sacred Music XII, band concerts, recitals and dance and music festivals of popular religiosity, which adds a wide range of cultural and permanent museum.

We highlight some of the major events that are held in the Metropolitan District of Quito for the celebration of Holy Week:

• Drag tails. The Cathedral will host this event (March 27), a celebration that takes place only in two world cities: Quito and Sevilla. The ritual begins when the Archbishop of Quito and its canons made a procession carrying on their backs the tails. Then, the canons prostrate before the altar for a huge shake Archbishop black flag with a red cross on them. Finally, the cleric hits the flagpole to the ground three times, symbol of resurrection.

• Procession Jesus of the Great Power. With Good Friday (March 29), day of mourning, the church doors are closed, and reaches the imposing procession of Jesus of the Great Power. The cones near the Veronicas are traditional figures accompanying Jesus del Gran Poder and the Virgin Dolorosa walking several streets of the historic center and south of the city.

• Ceremonies in rural parishes. Parishes are also players in this age of popular faith, culture and tradition. The traditional "Blessing of the Fire" in Alangasí (March 30), the procession Puellaro night (March 29) or the shocking caravan in La Merced (March 29), are some of the rites, in the day or night, are performed.

• XII International Festival of Sacred Music. From 17 to 29 March, will be held this meeting which this year has rescued scores of churches and convents Quito to turn them into new works that will sound for the first time to the public. Furthermore, the present Gregorian Chant Choir of Madrid (Spain), Chatham Baroque (USA), Lipzodes Ensemble (USA), from Mexico arrives ONIX Ensemble, contemporary electronic music and light show, Ars Longa ( Cuba), Capella Paulistana (Brazil), Carmen Helena Téllez (Venezuela-US.), the American gospel group Spiritual Ensemble (USA), the organist James Johnstone (UK), the organist Cristina Banegas (Uruguay) and choral director Joseph Flummerfelt (USA).

• Tourist routes. Quito Tourism has prepared two routes for the Easter holiday. The first route will take you to admire the traditional "Diablada" La Merced (March 29) and the second will be in the Cayambe-Coca National Park (March 30). More information and reservations in the store, at the corner Quinde Venezuela s / n mirror or by calling 445 2572.

• Holidays in the round. This 23 and March 24 at the Boulevard on May 24, the artisans of the "Hands on The Round" will participate in a craft fair and art festival performed by the Ballet Folklorico Humanizarte.

• Competition of the 12 best Fanescas. UDLA Quito Tourism and recognized for the second year to 12 establishments that preserve the tradition, taste and recipe fanesca essential. The event will be in the convent of San Agustin, on March 21.

You can check out the entire schedule of Holy Week 2013 in Quito Quito Tourism website www.quito.com.ec/semanasanta/

Monarchy survives vote in Stortinget

March 20, 2013  
NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s Parliament (Stortinget) has predictably cast aside the latest effort to convert the country from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. The proposal voted on earlier this week, however, raised some new questions about Norwegian democracy, and signaled some new support for the republican movement.

Until now, it’s mostly just been the now-small Socialist Left party (SV) that routinely fronts proposals to turn Norway into a republic and replace the monarch, currently King Harald V, with a president. This week SV was joined by four members of the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet, Ap), who didn’t outright propose toppling the king but rather preparing a report (called an utredning in Norwegian) on how a republic with a president would function.

The parliament, as political commentator Hege Ulstein noted in newspaper Dagsavisen on Wednesday, is normally keen to prepare such reports (often moreso than to actually take any firm action on any given issue). But in this case a majority characterized as “overwhelming” by news bureau NTB voted to crush the Labour MPs’ proposal. Only 11 MPs voted in favour of studying a conversion to a republic, while 83 voted against. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said one MP from the conservative Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet), in English.
Ulstein wrote that as many as 40 percent of the MPs in parliament are republican sympathizers but their party platforms all support the monarchy (except SV’s). They remain loyal, and the monarchy consistently survives attempts to phase it out despite the inherent paradox of its existence in a social welfare state like Norway. Norwegian politics promote egalitarianism and otherwise generally condemn what some call the “anachronistic” aspects of royalty, like wealth, privilege of birth and inheritance of power. The royals can also effectively be above the law, as seen in recent years when royal family members are exempted from zoning laws or even speed limits, such as the time the late King Olav pardoned his son, then-Crown Prince Harald, after he’d been caught driving too fast.

Even ardent Labour Party members like Martin Kolberg, though, were actively campaigning against the proposal of his own party colleagues on Monday, and that’s where commentators like Ulstein saw another paradox. Kolberg claimed that preparing a report on a republic would “destabilize our democratic understanding.” He refused to elaborate, even when asked what he meant by that. Ulstein noted in her column in Dagsavisen that all earlier proposals on replacing the monarchy with a republic have been rejected on the grounds because no utredning (report) has been prepared. “That the same MPs who have believed that now vote against an utredning is quite fantastic,” Ulstein wrote. The bottom line as she sees it: “We can’t change to a republic because it hasn’t been studied. And we can’t study it because that would destabilize our democratic understanding.”

King Harald and Queen Sonja don't face losing their jobs any time soon, either. PHOTO: Det Kongelige Slott
Another democratic problem with the monarchy also emerged during this week’s short debate in Parliament. MPs generally stress that Norway’s constitutional monarchy was approved by a referendum in 1905, in which it’s widely said to have won “massive” support among Norwegians. At that time, though, only half the population was eligible to vote (women, for example, were still banned at the ballot box). Not all of the eligible voters actually voted, and 79 percent of those who did approved only the actual wording on the referendum, that Norway’s government be allowed to “encourage” then-Prince Carl of Denmark to become Norway’s own king (he did, becoming King Haakon VII, grandfather of the current King Harald V).
That means, according to Ulstein, that only 29.6 percent of Norway’s adult population actively supported a monarchy for Norway more than 100 years ago. “Not bad, but not exactly a resounding, enthusiastic mandate of the people,” Ulstein wrote.
Norway’s modern-day politicians are also often quick to point out that the country’s monarchy is mostly ceremonial, and that the monarch has no formal political power. Norway’s kings (and queens) have shown that they do have power, though, because they can highlight issues and set an agenda, they’re listened to and the monarch meets with the government every week in the Council of State. The royals’ personal friendships with some top politicians have also set off some concerns, like when the friendship among Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and  former Labour Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (now Norway’s health minister) became known and the crown couple attended Støre’s private 50th birthday party, or when Haakon’s sister and her husband were seen in the same circles as Labour minister Trond Giske.

Both proponents and critics of the monarchy note how it can unite Norwegians across party lines, and is especially good in time of crisis. Both during World War II, when serious accidents have occurred or, most recently, during the terrorist attacks in 2011, royal family members have provided a strong source of sympathy and support.

All indications are that the monarchy is here to stay in Norway, despite the occasional bursts of criticism and calls from republicans. It remains ironic, according to Ulstein, that “a ‘democratic understanding’ has gotten us to believe that we are bound by the votes of less than 30 percent of the adult population cast more than 100 years ago,” and that even mounting a report on an alternative has been rejected once again.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

Forget Cyprus… The Fed is Stealing Your Money

What really initiated the riots and the run on local banks was the proposal of a wealth tax. Euro zone officials wanted to collect a one-time tax of 6.75% on deposits under 100,000 euros and 9.9% on larger deposits.

Of course, people took to the streets. Everybody knows that such wealth taxes are nothing more than organized robbery by the government.

What’s really surprising is that we have a similar thing going on in the U.S. It's been going on for the past few years. And yet, nobody seems to care.

Screw the Depositors, Let’s Save the Bankers

The rationale behind the one-time tax was really simple. Euro zone authorities would provide a bailout to Cyprus. In exchange, they would collect this bank levy.

In other words, the plan was to steal money from depositors to save the banks.

Of course, the government rejected that plan. Local politicians knew people would probably lynch them on the streets if they had voted in favor of this robbery.

So they found another solution. Instead of stealing money from all depositors, they will steal money only from the very rich.

It’s estimated that authorities will confiscate about 30% of deposits above 100,000 euros, which are not guaranteed under European Union law. But they could end up stealing more… nobody knows at this point.

Those are the terms of the last-ditch deal reached between Cyprus and international lenders to save the banks.

Throughout this whole Cyprus mess, what really caught my attention were the similarities between this proposed one-time tax and what the Fed has been doing. Let me explain.

How the Fed is Secretly Stealing Your Money… and Giving it to the Banks

Although our own government has been doing something similar for the past few years, I don’t see the kind of outrage I saw in Cyprus.

Of course, they haven’t done it in such a direct way. They’re smarter than that. They know people would never accept such a one-time confiscation of deposits.

Instead, they do it through negative interest rates (interest rates below the rate of inflation).

Here’s how it works…

As you know, the Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates close to zero for a very long time. Because of its policies, the U.S. inflation rate is now higher than interest rates.

This means that savers can’t earn anything on their deposits and money market accounts. If you leave money in the bank, you will be losing purchasing power every single year because of inflation.

While super low rates and money-printing are bad for savers, they’re great for bankers.

With short-term borrowing costs near zero, banks can profit by investing in government notes that pay a higher interest rate. This help from the Fed was a big reason why banks recovered from the 2008 collapse … the same collapse they helped bring about.

For the past four years or so, the Fed has been punishing savers in order to save banks. Isn’t that the same thing the euro zone authorities were proposing in the Cyprus case?

While European authorities wanted to levy a tax of 6.75% on depositors, the Fed is imposing a tax in the amount of the inflation rate.

What’s the inflation rate? It depends on how you measure it. The Fed says it’s 2%. But Shadowstats.com, using the same government methodology that was used in the 1980s, estimates inflation is actually close to 9%.

Judging by my grocery bills and gasoline costs, I think 9% is much closer to reality than what the Fed claims.

In a way, what the Fed is doing is worse than the Cyprus proposal. The Fed takes our money in a much sneakier way. It does it through negative interest rates, using inflation as an invisible tax.

That’s why I believe precious metals deserve a place in your portfolio. Gold and silver love negative interest rates. They continue to be good assets to hedge your portfolio against the Fed’s actions. At the end of day, Cyprus has nothing on the Fed.

Evaldo Albuquerque
Editor, Pure Income

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Don’t Let the Government “Cyprus” Your Bank Account

We can help you with this from Ecuador.....

 By Bob Bauman, JD, Offshore and Asset Protection Editor

After the close of business last Friday, government authorities in Cyprus put forth a startling proposal to seize 6.75% of every bank account of less than €100,000 ($130,000) and nearly 10% of all accounts holding €100,000 or more.

The goal of this shocking confiscation plan is to guarantee repayment of a planned $10 billion European Union bailout of the tiny Mediterranean nation.

In 2011, Cyprus received a €2.5 billion loan from Russia to cover its refinancing needs for 2012, but it wasn’t enough. The crisis in Greece and a potential Greek exit from the euro affected the Cyprus economy as its banks were heavily exposed to Greek debt.

This new move to seize bank deposits is a first in the euro zone crisis, and the proposed levy’s scope and sudden impact damaged the euro even further.

Until the banks closed and the ATMs ran out of cash, thousands of Cyprus residents lined up trying to access their money. Cyprus banks remain closed today, with many fearing that subsequent bank runs may spread across Europe.

Think something like this can’t happen here? Think again.

The Battle for Your Money

Will the U.S. government, under Barack Obama, “pull a Cyprus” and order U.S. banks to seize funds from our accounts and send them to the Internal Revenue Service to remedy one of its manufactured sequester-type financial crises?

And under the PATRIOT Act, the government already has the power to confiscate all of your bank account funds without notice if you have what the Feds claim to be a tenuous connection to “terrorism,” as they broadly define it.

The government has the means to confiscate your money. Now all it needs is an excuse.

The Spending Orgy Continues…

You may have heard that President Obama admires the European model of government, with its robust social welfare state of high taxes, central planning and little concern about deficit spending and debt — the very system that has produced the mess in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and, now, Cyprus.

To finance the socialist dreams of his profligate administration, Obama still needs ready cash to keep his special interest pals, Wall Street golfing buddies and trade unions happy.

Yes, the president has the Federal Reserve printing billions to prop up our financial system, but his incessant spending requires more and higher taxes.

Only a Republican majority in the House of Representatives stands in his way – exactly where the U.S. Constitution says all revenue measures must originate.

The debt ceiling limit is already nearly breached. No federal budget has been adopted for the last four years. The president says he has no interest in a balanced budget any time in the next 10 years. The battle in Congress is joined.

Think about the man in the White House. Using his “emergency powers,” might not Obama consider a Cyprus-type withholding plan?

Friends, if there was ever a time to safeguard your finances, this is it. Don’t stand there like those poor hypnotized souls watching the peaceful ocean recede just before they drowned in the floodwaters of the tsunami.

Now is the time to move your pension/retirement plan offshore, to open an offshore bank account, and to create an offshore asset protection trust before it’s too late.

Faithfully yours,

Bob Bauman, JD
Chairman, Freedom Alliance

"I Can't Even Imagine Going Back to the States..."

By Suzan Haskins
Intermantional Living
Cynthia Collett recently celebrated her first anniversary in Ecuador, although she admits she had been working on this idea of "retiring overseas" for nearly a year before she actually made the move.
"A friend came to Ecuador for a work-related conference," Cynthia says. "And she told me I would absolutely love Cotacachi. 

"That’s when I started the internet research. The more I read, the more I fell in love with the culture and I was certain I wanted to live here. Ten months later, I had sold everything and arrived in Ecuador with five suitcases.
"A lot of people think I was brave to make this move on my own," 62-year-old Cynthia adds. "But that's just how I live my life. When I want to go, I go."
And Cynthia wanted to go for several very good reasons.
The weather in Minnesota, where she lived previously was "treacherous to say the least." Just three weeks prior to her move to Ecuador she slipped on the ice and broke her wrist.
"Some people said it was too bad I'd have to postpone my trip. I told them the ticket was purchased and I was going. And so I did."

Cost of living was also an issue, she says. "Because of a medical issue I was living on very little money and it was nearly impossible. At some point I'm not sure what I would have done."
In Ecuador, however, Cynthia found that she had enough money to live comfortably.
"For the first six months I was here I lived on widow’s benefits of $600 a month. It really can be done, but it's important to know that all I did was ‘live.’ I didn't have money for health insurance, trips, or just about any purchases other than the essentials."
Eventually, though, she became eligible for Social Security benefits and today her monthly income, which she supplements by doing some pet sitting and administrative work for other expats, is about $1,000.
She’s also found a less-costly rental than the one she lived in when she originally moved to Cotacachi.
"For my small casita, I pay $190 for rent, and that includes electricity, water, and Internet. I buy my own propane for hot water and cooking. I've been there for three months now and have only replaced one of the two tanks so it appears to be costing me less than $1 a month for that."
Now that she has more money, Cynthia says, she can afford to do more fun things, like going to Mindo (a bird-watching town in a cloud forest) for a few days with a tour group.
In fact, Cynthia says she enjoys a quality of life she didn't have in the States.
"I have a support system here I never dreamt of having back there. Right now most of those people are expats because I'm still working on my Spanish, but I'm developing more and more connections with Ecuadorians as well and I love that."
Any advice she’d offer someone back home who is on the fence about making a similar move?
"If you can afford it, come down for a month or so to see what you think about it. If you can't do that, think seriously about your motives. It's been my experience that people who come for just the financial and climate issues can have trouble adjusting. If you like diversity and new cultural experiences and think learning Spanish sounds like something you want to do, chances are you'll do great here."
Will she ever go back to the States? "I can't even imagine that. My life is here and I love every bit of it."

Monday, March 18, 2013

CONFISCATION: Panicked Europeans Rush ATMs as Leaders Move To Seize Funds Directly From Bank Account Holders

What???? Central Bankers in Europe are not going to print any more money to fill thier ATM machines?????

Over the last few years political and financial leaders in Europe and the United States have implemented policies, regulations and bailouts costing global taxpayers trillions of dollars with the promise that these measures would lead to economic growth and recovery.

What happened in Europe today is yet further proof that nothing they’ve done has fixed the underlying fundamental issues surrounding the events that led to the crash of 2008.

For those who don’t believe the government is prepared to take extreme measures that may include the seizing of retirement accounts, cash savings or even gold, look no further than Cyprus, the latest recipient of bank bailouts.

As of right now, citizens of Cyprus are scrambling to withdraw funds from their bank accounts after the EU, with agreement from the Cypriot government, announced they will decimate funds held in personal bank accounts to the tune of up to 10% of existing deposits.

You read that right.

The European Union has made the determination that the people of Cyprus are now responsible for the hundreds of billions of dollars in bad bets made by their government and bank financiers, and they are moving to confiscate money directly from the bank accounts of every citizen in the country.

Restrictions have been imposed to stop people emptying their accounts or moving their money out the country after the Cypriot government announced that up to ten per cent of deposits will be seized and used to bailout the island’s crisis-hit banking system.
The deal with other eurozone finance ministers is the first time that ordinary citizens’ deposits have been directly raided in this way.

One furious expat said: ‘This is plain theft. I’d love to hear someone explain to me why it isn’t.’

Under the deal, all bank deposits over €100,000 will be hit with a levy of 9.9 per cent. Those with smaller savings will pay 6.75 per cent.

The move sparked panic and violent protests yesterday as crowds desperately tried to withdraw their money at cash machines. 

‘Why would you risk putting your money in Greek, Spanish or Portuguese banks after this?’
British expats were stunned by the news, with many left high and dry by the restrictions on accounts.
Cash machines had been working, but many ran out of notes because of the panic withdrawals.

But financial experts said the raid – designed to stop Cyprus crashing out of the euro, potentially destroying the currency – would send shock waves through the eurozone.
If savers in other troubled nations fear their accounts might be next, they could withdraw their money and spark a catastrophic run on the  banks.
Source: Daily Mail

They’re calling it a “tax.”

As Market Ticker’s Karl Denninger notes, “Like hell that’s a tax.  That’s direct confiscation of the funds of people who did nothing wrong!”

It should now be obvious. There is no recovery. There never was.

No matter where you live, your government is likely preparing measures to deal with the coming financial and economic collapse. This means they are going to be coming for anything of value that they can get their hands on.
If you have the majority of your net worth allocated in bank accounts, money market funds, retirement plans, stock markets or the host of other ‘safe’ assets recommended by your financial adviser, then you are playing Russian roulette.

And in this version there’s a bullet in every chamber.

When they come, they will take everything they can

 Author: Mac Slavo
Views: Read by 47,926 people
Date: March 16th, 2013
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

Where´s best for you on the coast of Ecuador.....

Like flat oceans good for swimming?

Or maybe rockin' waves?

How about lush green jungle right to the water's edge?

Or dry-as-a-bone landscapes with low humidity?

For such a small country, the Ecuador coast has it all... so where should you begin?

Here are my top picks...

flat ocean good for swimming, snorkeling- Salinas, Ayangue, Punta Blanca

surf towns/ good waves- Montanita, Ayampe, Playas, Canoa, Mompiche

Sunniest beaches- San Clemente, Playas

wide, flat beaches good for walking- Playas, Olon, Atacames, Muisne

scuba / hand gliding / kiteboarding / fishing- Ayangue (scuba), Canoa, Crucita (hand gliding), Santa Marianita (kite boarding), Salinas (fishing) green, lush right up to water edge- Olon, Ayampe, Jama, Mompiche, Muisne, Same, Puerto Cayo

dry, brown, low humidity and less mosquitos- Salinas, Playas, Punta Blanca, Ballenita, Santa Marianita, Manta, Crucita, Machalilla, Cadeate, Valdivia

Quiet spots near the action and shopping- Ballenita, Crucita, Manglaralto, Olon, Canoa, Atacames, Tonsupa

Bigger cities with health care- Salinas+ Santa Elena, Manta, Esmeraldas, Bahia, Pedernales

White sand beaches- Playa Rosada, Muisne, Atacames, Tortuga Bay (Galapagos), Isabela Island (Galapagos)

Palm tree forests to waters edge- Cojimes, Muisne

Established expat community- Salinas, Olon, Puerto Lopez, Manta, Crucita, San Clemente-San Jacinto, Bahia

Off the beaten track/ no foreigners- La Libertad, Chanduy, Palmar, Valdivia, La Entrada, Tunas, Pedernales, Cojimes, Muisne, Esmeraldas

People watch/ women in bikinis, men in thongs/ party towns- Montanita, Canoa, Atacames

Beachfront condos in highrises- Salinas, Manta, Bahia, Tonsupa

Large lots of vacant beach land- Jama area, Cojimes, Muisne

Gated beach communities- Manta area, Salinas area

Beachfront property on smaller lots- Same, San Clemente-San Jacinto, Ballenita, Cadeate, Canoa

Bird and wildlife watching- Isla de la Plata (Puerto Lopez), Everywhere in Galapagos

Dom Buonamici
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio-> now in Ecuador.
Quito Airport Suites
Murali Hostal Guayaquil
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ecuador: Is it nuts to invest here?

By James McKeigue Mar 04, 2013

 You would have to be nuts to invest in Ecuador. Firebrand socialist leader Rafael Correa has just secured another four-year term and vowed to carry on his “citizens' revolution”. And so far, that revolution has been a painful one for Western investors. 

 Since coming to power in 2007, Correa has voluntarily defaulted on the country’s debt, rewritten terms for natural resource companies and steadily pushed up taxes for imported goods. 

Unsurprisingly, most multinationals have taken the hint and left the country. Foreign direct investment now stands at less than 1% of GDP – the lowest in the region apart from Venezuela.

But today, I want to tell you why I reckon that could be about to change and throw up some exciting – though risky – investment opportunities in the region.

First though, I must confess, I have something of a vested interest in Ecuador. My fiancée is from the country and I’ll be getting married over there in August.

That doesn’t make me automatically bullish on the country. After all, landowners in the coastal region where my other half  is from are no great fans of Correa. Many are wary of his attempts to meddle in agriculture.

Correa: two sides to the man

I have spent a fair bit of  time in the country and I’ve seen first-hand some of the unreported positive aspects of the Correa regime. The most obvious is the road building programme.

Ecuador’s transport system was a mess when Correa came to power and since then he’s built thousands of kilometres of road and constructed massive new bridges. That’s helped to slash journey times and cut costs for the country’s businesses. He’s also spent heavily on schools and welfare payments.

Not all of this money has been well spent, and you could argue that the latter was a calculated bid to buy voters. But either way, it’s helped boost growth in the economy. In the last few years, Ecuador has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, with GDP averaging 6.7% since the start of 2011. 

That economic growth, combined with shrewd political nous and generous wealth transfers, helped Correa win last month’s election by a landslide. He picked up 57% of the vote with his nearest rival collecting just 24%.

So why, given Correa’s strong position, do I think that the country has potential for British investors? Well for starters, Correa’s situation is not as comfortable as it looks.
There are plenty of complaints about his meddling, authoritarian style. Many in Ecuador are uneasy about his attempts to control the media, while he often causes annoyance with his penchant for micromanaging society.
For example, last year he produced a strange ruling that governed how pupils at public schools could celebrate their Christmas parties. There are also plenty of corruption scandals, examples of nepotism and a supposed coup in 2010 that many suspect was faked.

Yet, as the elections demonstrated, the majority of the population will overlook these issues as long as Correa continues to spend heavily and deliver economic growth. And that’s why Correa, with an economics PhD, may be nervous.

Over-reliance on oil – where to look now?

So far, he’s rejected the ‘Washington Consensus’ of free trade and liberal economic policies and managed to carve out impressive growth by doing things his own way.

His 2008 default cut Ecuador off from international debt markets but he made up for this by negotiating oil finance deals with China. As a result, he’s been able to almost double government spending and turn Latin America’s lowest spending government into its highest.

As for the general economy, his anti-Western rhetoric and harsh tax regimes scared off most foreign investors, leaving the country increasingly dependent on the state-owned oil company and local agricultural exporters. Fortunately for Correa, record commodity  prices have helped both industries and the economy has continued to boom.

The trouble is, neither of these things can carry on indefinitely. His government is dependent on oil, which accounts for 40% of revenues. If oil remains flat or falls, as many analysts expect, then Correa will struggle to maintain his largesse. When faced with this problem in the past, Correa has turned to the Chinese but they won’t be able to help him out forever.

According to leaked reports, it's estimated that Correa has pledged 80% of Ecuador's state-controlled production until 2020 to China. In other words, he is running out of stuff to offer the Chinese.

Oil is also very important to the wider economy, making up around 50% of exports. “Ecuador is running a current account deficit despite the fact oil prices, and hence its terms of trade, are close to record highs”, notes Michael Henderson at Capital Economics. “We estimate that if global oil prices were to fall to below US$90/bbl, this would be consistent with the current account deficit widening to over 5% of GDP.”
So if Correa wants to keep the economy growing and remain popular with the voters, he needs to find another source of capital – and that could be you. As unlikely as it sounds, Correa is starting to realise that Western resource companies – owned by shareholders such as yourselves – are his best chance of keeping growth going and staying popular with the voters.

 Ecuador is finally opening its arms, especially to miners

Thanks to Correa’s tough treatment, many oil firms have left the country and production is stagnating. Now Ecuador is trying to fix that by auctioning exploration rights in hitherto unexplored parts of the country.
Given the understandable reluctance of international oil companies, officials from the Hydrocarbons Secretariat of Ecuador (SHE) are launching a worldwide charm offensive. They’re halfway through an international roadshow that is stopping off in Colombia, the US, France, Singapore and China.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for a country that has spent the last four years fighting international investors. Indeed, Wilson Pástor, minister of Ecuador’s Nonrenewable Natural Resources, admitted as much when he launched the roadshow.

“We are beginning a new era of exploration in Ecuador. We have not explored enough in the past 15 years, and it is time for Ecuador to attract new foreign investment to move our industry and country forward and to increase our reserves.”

Correa also seems keen to diversify away from an overdependence on oil. Fortunately for him, Ecuador is rich in a wide range of natural resources. One is agriculture. Just look closely at the label the next time you buy a packet of shrimps or bananas from Tesco and odds on they’ll be from Ecuador.
However, encouraging large-scale foreign investment in agriculture would be politically disastrous. So instead, Correa is looking to push investment in the untapped mining sector.

In the last few months, he’s made a number of high profile calls to “make it easier” for mining companies. In February, he told Reuters "I don't like mining, and open-pit is even worse, but it's impossible to think of modern life without mining and it would be irresponsible not to use those resources... They can be key to fight poverty.”

Given Correa’s previously hostile approach to miners it’s a massive turnaround. More importantly, he’s backing up his words with actions. Last year, he signed a contract with a Chinese miner for a $1.6bn copper project. While just last month, Chilean state-controlled miner Codelco received permission to start another major copper mine.

Meanwhile, Correa is currently pushing legislation through Congress that will relax terms for miners. His aim is to water down the existing framework – which includes a 70% windfall tax – so that he can finally finalise a much-debated project with Canadian miner Kinross (NYSE: KGC).

The proposed mine – known as Fruta del Norte – is one of the world’s biggest remaining gold and silver deposits. According to Kinross it contains 6.7 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves and nine million ounces of proven and probable silver reserves.

Negotiations have been going on for years and I am not going to bet that they’ll be concluded successfully now. But while I can’t be sure if this deal will happen it is clear that Ecuador’s mining sector is hotting up.

Problems Correa will have to overcome

It won’t be easy. William Lee, the Ecuador analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told me that, while Correa may be talking up investment, there still remains plenty of work to be done on the ground.
Firstly, the regulatory structure has been adjusted so many times that miners are bound to be nervous. Meanwhile the difficult business environment and weak institutions will increase the cost of operations.
Another obstacle is opposition from environmentalists and community groups who are worried that these projects will damage the country.

Given the shocking environmental pollution caused by Western companies in Ecuador in the past – these groups deserve to be listened to. However, I actually think that opposition could work in the favour of listed Western resource firms who – nowadays at least – are often the best equipped and most inclined to take care of environmental issues.
The final thing to remember – as an Ecuadorian trade official pointed out to me in a private conversation – is that “these companies are active all over the world. Ecuador might be risky but many other countries are a lot worse.” It’s not your typical sales pitch but it’s a fair point. Especially when you consider the country’s massive potential for gold, copper and oil projects.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on Ecuador’s resource sector in the coming months and will update you on any exciting developments. Western companies operating there are likely to trade at a discount – for example Kinross’s on-going Ecuador debacle has hammered the share price – which will create opportunities for brave investors.