El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bank Run Fears: Customers Being Forced to Provide Evidence For Why They Need Cash

Note from Blog: If you need to get money  out of the US...we can help.

Mac Slavo
January 25th, 2014

In early 2013 the country of Cyprus locked down private banking accounts and restricted access to depositor funds. It was the first widely documented instance of a “bail-in,” as bank officials and European regulators determined that bad loans taken on by the banks were now the responsibility of the banks’ customers. This led to a country-wide confiscation of 10% or more of all customer funds. In the heat of the Cyprian financial panic banks limited cash withdrawals to around $300 and ramped up security to prevent angry Cypriots from breaking down the doors.

What happened in Cyprus was big news all over the world, but within a few news cycles, once European and American officials assured the people it was a limited-scope event, the general population swept potential fears under the rug. No one really reported on the fact that the European Union quickly instituted new regulatory policies that would force bail-ins across the entire continent should such a crisis take hold again. Likewise, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured Americans that the crisis in Cyprus and Europe posed no risk to the US financial system, citing FDIC insurance for U.S. bank depositors as the safety net that would prevent a similar situation in the United States.

The United States, Europe, China and all of the world’s developed economies are, if officials are to be believed, completely immune to what happened in Cyprus. The current belief by the best and brightest is that these countries are simply too big to ever be faced with a total collapse of their banking systems.
But what if they were wrong? What if private debt reached such obscene levels that the loans taken on by lenders could never be repaid? What if a country like China, which holds trillions of dollars in cash reserves and has modern central banking regulations, did face such a problem?

Couldn’t happen, right?

It turns out, that’s exactly what is happening right now, as Chinese banks struggle to cope with nearly $23 trillion worth of potentially bad loans. Yes, that’s Trillion, with a “T.” The Chinese, it appears, have mimicked the exact set of circumstances that led to the 2008 crisis in America. Remember all of those empty cities and malls in China – they housed no people or shopping venues, yet cost billions of dollars to develop? It looks like all those bridges to nowhere are catching up with the Chinese. And the panic has begun, as evidenced by capital controls and restrictive withdrawal policies now being implemented by one of the largest banks in the world all across China.

Want to know how a bank run starts? Look no further:
 HSBC is imposing restrictions on large cash withdrawals raising a number of red flags. The BBC reports that some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it. HSBC admitted it has not informed customers of the change in policy, which was implemented in November for their own good: “We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual… the reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimise the opportunity for financial crime.” As one customer responded: “you shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.”
“When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.”
Mr Cotton says the staff refused to tell him how much he could have: “So I wrote out a few slips. I said, ‘Can I have £5,000?’ They said no. I said, ‘Can I have £4,000?’ They said no. And then I wrote one out for £3,000 and they said, ‘OK, we’ll give you that.’ “
He asked if he could return later that day to withdraw another £3,000, but he was told he could not do the same thing twice in one day.

Mr Cotton cannot understand HSBC’s attitude: “I’ve been banking in that bank for 28 years. They all know me in there. You shouldn’t have to explain to your bank why you want that money. It’s not theirs, it’s yours.”
Via: Zero Hedge
As in China, the debt party in the United States has returned in force. We are now very close to the same levels of personal and commercial debt as we saw prior to the crash of ’08, but rather than being concerned the experts say don’t fight it, embrace it.

But as is the case in China, the debt party will soon be coming to an end in the United States as tens of millions of Americans see their wealth and jobs wiped out. Like the people of China who took on loans they can’t repay, Americans are under the gun. And in the near future, the same credit problems that gripped the world before will do so again. And this time we’ll be footing the bill directly from our bank accounts (rather than the Federal Reserve’s printing presses).

We may not yet have official regulatory or bank policies for restricting cash withdrawals here in the USA, but just try to head to your local bank and withdraw $5000 or $10,000 and see what happens. You will invariably be met with stares from bank employees and questions about your intentions and why you need that much cash.
We’ve already seen how fast they can lock down the entire banking system. It’ll only take a push of a button and everything you think you have in your personal bank account could be seized.

But then again, as Ben Bernanke has said previously, there is no risk to the financial system. Moreover, the FDIC has insured your money, so if something does go wrong with the American banking system, all of your losses are totally covered by the roughly $50 billion in FDIC reservesThat should be plenty of money to handle the $9 trillion in US-based domestic customer deposits, plus the $300 trillion in derivatives bets made by the banks.

So, no need to worry, because the government’s got your back (and they would NEVER think of using your deposited funds to offset any bank losses).

But even though it is impossible to conceive that such a thing might happen we recommend preparing for it just in case. We know FEMA will be there to provide emergency cash, food and recovery tents. But in the off chance the credit system locks up again, ATM’s are limited to minimal withdrawals, and the banks do seize your money you might want to have some foodsuppliesgold, and reserve cash on hand.

We realize such a thing could never happen – not in the world’s most developed and richest economy. Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, government officials and TV pundits say it can’t. So, these extra supplies would be just for fun and entertainment – something to show friends and family when they come over so you can have a laugh about all these crazy Doomsday scenarios.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The opposition makes head-way...and the Potlitical fall out begins.....

BLOG COMMENT: We are actually a supporter of President Correa mainly becuase he is a good leader. In our view...it is good to see other parties make progress as to not give one party all the power. Thus...this is good for the country.  The reason why Correas Party lost in Quito is simple.....one does not get relected in Ecuador if you siginficanly raise taxes on real estate, annual minimum wage hikes,  combersome fees on businesses and raise cooking gas prices significantly.

Ecuador's president will seek cabinet shuffle, change to party

By Yuri Garcia
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Tuesday said he will ask for his cabinet's resignation and reshape his political party after the loss of the capital city of the oil-producing Andean nation to the opposition in local elections.
Opposition candidates on Sunday won elections to run the local governments of Quito and industrial city Cuenca, and maintained control of the economic capital and port city of Guayaquil in an unsettling result for the government.
"There will be a cabinet crisis," Correa told reporters in the port city of Guayaquil, adding that he had considered changing his government ministers prior to the vote.
"The problem isn't the government; it could win many posts ... we believe in any case that fresh air is needed."
He said he would restructure his Alianza Pais or Country Alliance movement that has sought to make its socialist "Citizen's Revolution" the defining feature of its government, a project which aims to reduce poverty and social inequality.
Correa said the loss of Quito was painful and could make the country ungovernable. He accused associates of the winner, Mauricio Rodas, of links with the "fascist right" wing in Venezuela.
Venezuela has been shaken by a fortnight of violent opposition protests over inflation, crime and economic shortages that its socialist President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on "fascists" seeking a coup with the backing of the United States.
Correa had warned in the run-up to the elections that defeat in the capital city could tempt opposition leaders to use their power to destabilize the country, a tactic he said was behind the protests in Venezuela.
Analysts say the defeat in Ecuador reflects dissatisfaction among the electorate over the Correa administration's perceived interference in local government and harsh criticism of opponents during the campaign, and may force him to adopt a more conciliatory style.
Correa denied the election was a disaster for his movement, pointing out that the party received the most votes overall nationwide.
Ecuador is the smallest member of the OPEC group of oil producing nations, with output averaging 520,000 barrels per day in January.
(Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito, Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Peter Murphy and Lisa Shumaker)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This Ecuadorian "Eco-Valley" Won't Stay Undiscovered for Long..

By Wendy DeChambeau
Tucked into the western slopes of the Andes, 40 miles north of the capital Quito, the Intag Valley possesses that rare kind of climate in which nearly any plant will thrive. Farmers haul in harvests of everything from papayas and passion fruit to carrots and corn. Surrounding their scattered tracts of farmland is a dense jungle of towering palms, broad-leafed ferns and twisting vines. You'll find more species of orchids than you can count, and a huge variety of bromeliads.
This thick cover acts as one of the few remaining intact habitats for elusive pumas, jaguars, and other smaller felines. The endangered spectacled bear also calls the Intag home along with hundreds of varieties of exotic birds.
As the condor flies, this cloud forest valley is not far from the market town of Otavalo. In fact, it's only 35 miles away by road. But for years now that one-and-only road has been a narrow, mountain-hugging dirt track accessible only from the towns of Otavalo or Cotacachi.
That's all about to change. In recent years Ecuador's government has placed a high priority on improving the infrastructure of the country. Road improvement projects have been carried out from the Amazon to the Pacific and now they've arrived at the Intag.
The project is slated for completion at the end of this year. Not only will the upgrade make for a more pleasant ride, but it should cut down on the drive time by an hour or more. This new ease of access will lighten the load for residents when they need to travel to and from larger towns. More importantly, it will also open up the way for expanded tourism and opportunities for adventurous expats.
At the moment there are only a handful of expats residing in the valley. Several individuals split their time between hobby farms within the Intag and a home base in Cotacachi. Others reside in the Intag on a full time basis and keep occupied with farming, running small lodges, or conservation efforts.
What about real estate? Well, you won't find many "for sale" signs in the Intag, but ask around and you'll find plenty of properties for sale.
In Cuellaje a knowledgeable local was able to show me several. The first was an approximately 25-acre parcel in the hills above town, priced at $30,000. Bordered by a small stream this land harbors a grove of mature avocado trees, native plants, and a freshwater spring. The views stretch on for miles between the mountains and the rich black soil is perfect for a garden or small farm. Electricity is already installed on the property and cell phone service is available.
Several smaller land-only properties border the Rio Magdalena, 20 minutes up the road from Cuellaje, where they are currently used for pastures. Again, the possibilities are broad, farming, rental cabins, or a private getaway are all options here. These lots range in price from $10,000 to $15,000.
These are just a few examples of what is available in the Intag Valley, but there is much more out there.
The Intag is not suitable for everyone. There are no shopping malls, no clubs or fancy restaurants, and no all-night grocery stores. Houses in the region tend to be on the basic side, meaning that time and effort may be required to add U.S.-style comforts.
But for the right person, the Intag can open up a world of possibilities. Thermal springs, pre-Incan structures, and some of Ecuador's friendliest and most welcoming people can be found here. Maybe you envision a private little organic farm with fresh food year round. Or perhaps you're looking to get in early on what could be Ecuador's next ecotourism base. Whatever your dreams, be sure to check out the well-kept secret that is the Intag Valley.

America Needs a King

Does America need a monarch? Ever since, according to legend, George Washington turned down the chance of becoming the new country’s king, America’s identity as a republican nation of citizen rulers has been rock solid. Indeed, nothing can stir patriotic anger more than the suggestion that the U.S. president is acting like unelected royalty. Yet even before independence, John Adams argued in favor of a “republican monarchy” of laws, lamenting, “We have so many Men of Wealth, of ambitious Spirits, of Intrigue … that incessant Factions will disturb our Peace.”

Looking at the United States, today, Adams was prescient, with the country almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, special interests dominant, and poisonous partisan gridlock destroying Washington, D.C. While Adams favored a republican monarch with absolute veto powers, today we need a person who can sit above politics and help strengthen our commitment to republican values. We need a king, or something like one.

As the only nationally elected official, the president has become a symbol of the country. Such symbols, whether in a democracy, monarchy, or authoritarian state, must serve a purpose above politics, both at home and abroad. Yet that is impossible for a U.S. president who is head of his own government, putative head of his political party and invariably a competitive, partisan politician. For example of just how awkward this can be, hours after a mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington last September, President Obama unleashed a blisteringly critical speech on the budget, accusing the Tea Party faction in Congress of promising “economic chaos” and questioning whether Republicans were “willing to hurt people just to score political points.”

In parliamentary systems around the globe, the head of state is separate from the head of government. In some countries, like Russia and France, the president (as head of state) is more powerful than the prime minister (who is head of government). In others, like Israel, the president serves simply as a symbol of the nation, while the prime minister runs the country. Europe’s constitutional monarchies limit their heads of royal houses to symbolic functions, while reserving that role to one family. Having a national, unifying position ostensibly standing outside the daily muck of politics provides a rallying point for all citizens and a safety valve to redirecting national passions in a non-partisan way.

We have no such safety valve in the United States. Our experiment in self-government has progressed to the point where the differences in our increasingly complex country are now the salient feature of public life. They are certainly not as fundamental as the questions of slavery or civil rights, but they are deep and growing deeper nonetheless. The role and size of government, individual rights to privacy, immigration, the definition of marriage and the like are all driving polarization, not just in Washington, but in Peoria and Albuquerque and Manchester. The result is a country that is becoming shriller, more willing to demonize opponents and less united. This deep corrosion of political life is directly responsible for Americans’ growing sense of alienation.

There is, for many Americans, nowhere to turn to find a sense of common meaning. Not politics: Nine out of 10 polls followed by Real Clear Politics in December 2013 recorded that 60 percent or more of respondents feel the country is on the wrong track, with some polls reaching as high as 66 percent. Politicians are despised as a class, with congressional approval at an astonishingly low 6 percent, according to a year-end Economist/YouGov poll. Not the courts: The Supreme Court is now viewed unfavorably by nearly half the country, being seen as increasingly partisan after its controversial 2000 election ruling and 2012 Obamacare decision. Not religion: It’s increasingly a private affair, and has become a source of growing contention between believers and often-secular elites. Only American popular culture substitutes for a sense of community, with sports and film stars looked up to as exemplars despite their often lurid and sensational antics and unreachable wealth.

Michael Auslin is resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Follow him on Twitter @michaelauslin.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Foreign Ambassadors Wanted: Experience Not Required

President Obama has found a new way to hamstring U.S. foreign policy.

After embarrassment created by U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ms. Victoria Nuland’s less-than-diplomatic gaffe – she used the “F” word against the EU – we now have Obama’s latest diplomatic appointees.

In the most recent hearings for the ambassador positions, it was revealed that Colleen Bell, a TV producer for a soap opera who was picked for the U.S. envoy to Hungary, was completely unable to answer basic questions in her confirmation hearing. In fact, she was unable to adequately describe our strategic interests in Hungary, but rather relied on trite remarks regarding collaboration and security.

Meanwhile, George Tsunis managed to insult a large part of Norway before he even stepped in the country, by calling the Progress Party – part of Norway’s ruling coalition – a hate-spewing “fringe element.”
And finally, Noah Bryson Mamet – the nominee for the Argentina ambassadorship – admitted that he’d never actually been to Argentina and couldn’t speak Spanish.

But then having an ambassador who’s visited the country or is aware of their political structure is so passé. Why should we worry about how our ambassador is going to handle the worsening attitude toward Jews and other minorities in Hungary? Ms. Bell’s experience producing a soap opera will certainly see her through.

Sure, we’ve got plenty of people who’ve accumulated a deep knowledge of a country’s language, history, customs, goals, and even our interests in the country. They just failed to make the appropriate campaign contributions.

The U.S. is the only industrial country that takes such a lackadaisical approach to assigning ambassadors, creating the potential for embarrassment and damage to our future interests abroad. While the government has become sadly out of touch with the rest of the world, we at the Sovereign Society realize that a wealth of opportunities lie overseas and we are prepared with the knowledge needed to guide you forward.

Jocelynn Smith
Managing Editor
The Sovereign Investor

Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?

When I give speeches around the country, I often get asked whether it’s time to give up.

More specifically, has America reached a tipping point, with too many people riding in the wagon of government dependency and too few people creating wealth and pulling the wagon in the right direction?

 These questions don’t surprise me, particularly since my speeches frequently include very grimBIS, OECD, and IMF data showing that the long-run fiscal problem in the United States is larger than it is in some nations that already are facing fiscal crisis.

 But that doesn’t mean I have a good answer. I think there is a tipping point, to be sure, but I’m not sure whether there’s a single variable that tells us when we’ve reached the point of no return.

 Is it when government spending consumes 50 percent of economic output? That would be a very bad development if the burden of government spending reached that level, but it’s not necessarily fatal. Back in the early 1990s, the public sector was that big in Canada, yet policy makers in that country were able to restrain budgetary growth and put the country on a positive path. Sweden is another nation that has turned the corner. Government spending peaked at 67 percent of GDP in the early 1990s, but is now down to 47 percent of GDP after years of free-market reforms.

Is it when a majority of households are getting government handouts? That’s also a worrisome development, especially if those folks see the state as a means of living off their fellow citizens. But taking a check from Uncle Sam doesn’t automatically mean a statist mindset. As one of my favorite people opined, “some government beneficiaries – such as Social Security recipients – spent their lives in the private sector and are taking benefits simply because they had no choice but to participate in the system.”

 Is it when a majority of people no longer pay income taxes, leaving a shrinking minority to bear all the burden of financing government? It’s not healthy for society when most people think government is “free,” particularly if they perceive an incentive to impose even higher burdens on those who do pay. And there’s no question that the overwhelming majority of the tax burden is borne by the top 10 percent. There’s little evidence, though, that the rest of the population thinks there’s no cost to government – perhaps because many of them pay heavy payroll taxes.

 I explore these issues in this interview with Charles Payne.

 The main takeaway from the interview is that the tipping point is not a number, but a state of mind. It’s the health of the nation’s “social capital.”

 So for what it’s worth, the country will be in deep trouble if and when the spirit of self-reliance becomes a minority viewpoint. And the bad news is that we’re heading in that direction.

The good news is that we’re not close to the point of no return. There is some polling data, for instance, showing that Americans still have a much stronger belief in liberty than their European counterparts.

 And we’ve even made a small bit of progress against big government in the past few years.

 I speculated in the interview that we probably have a couple of decades to save the country, but it will become increasingly difficult to make the necessary changes – such as entitlement reform andwelfare decentralization – as we get closer to 2020 and 2030.

And if those changes don’t occur…?

 That’s a very grim subject. I fully understand why some Americans are thinking about the steps they should take to protect their families if reforms don’t occur and a crisis occurs.

 Indeed, this to me is one of the most compelling arguments against gun control. If America begins to suffer the chaos and disarray that we’ve seen in nations such as Greece, it’s better to well-armed.

 Though maybe there will be some nations that remain stable as the world’s welfare states collapse. And if emigration is your preferred option, I’d bet on Australia.

 But wouldn’t it be better to fix what’s wrong and stay in America?

Daniel J. Mitchell | Feb 20, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where to bank (safely) in Ecuador

Note from Blog: We heard once from another expat here in Ecuador a phrase that we have always adhered to in Ecuador......live in one country, do business in another, and bank in another.  Living and/or working in Ecuador does not mean you have to have all or most of your money here.

Do you want the long or the short answer?  

The short answer is ... no where.  

Keep your money in your home country except for what you need.  Remember, this is a country where from one day to the next a bank could close shop, put a lock on the door and say "adios" with your money.

Kind of funny hearing this from a supposed "Ecuador expert".  

But it is what it is.  

It happens.

In fact, to two differnet banking institutions in the last year (2013-2014).

However, I know if you are going to live or invest here it sure is convenient to have a local bank account.  
One you can withdraw from anytime without fees or hefty exchange fees.

So in this case I offer you the long answer...

There are only two banks in Ecuador where I suggest you have your money.

1. Banco Pichincha.  Its the biggest bank in Ecuador (the yellow one) and has branches everywhere you want to be.  It's where all the locals have their money in Ecuador.  Its the institution everyone uses to do business.  If this bank closed up there would be major riots in the street, in other words, the government would not let it happen.

One thing I've learned when living abroad, if all the locals are jumping off a bridge, damn it, you better follow suit!  There is a reason for everything all though we may not see it at first and think, "huh, that's stupid, I'm so much smarter than they are. (not true!)" 

2. Banco del Pacifico.  This bank is the other decent option, albeit with far fewer branches, this is also one of the safest places to stash your cash in Ecuador because it is owned and managed by the government.

It's like making friends with the bully in grade school so they don't pick on you.

Heck, I know I did it, this is the same difference when the government seems to be the one going around ordering banks and credit unions (cooperas) in Ecuador to close these days.  

Extra tip:  Be sure to keep no more than $25000 in any one bank account in Ecuador, that is the amount your money is insured to and in the event of a bank closing you'd be one of the first people to get your money refunded.

Dom Buonamici
Quito Airport Suites

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The U.S. Exodus Continues

Addison Wiggin, updating you on the continuing U.S. exodus...

"Here is a sign that life is getting complicated for U.S. taxpayers with assets abroad," reported The Wall Street Journal back in August of last year. "More of them are deciding they are better off cutting official ties with America."

"A record number of U.S. taxpayers renounced their citizenship or green cards in 2013, according to new data," added The Daily Caller yesterday. "Each quarter, the U.S. Treasury publishes the names of the Americans who officially expatriated… In the last quarter of 2013, 630 people renounced their citizenship or relinquished their green cards, added to the previous 2013 quarters... bringing the total for 2013 to 2,999."

Yes, nearly three years after chronicling the trend in our Addison Wiggin's Apogee Advisory special report How to Move Your Money Safely out of Harm's Way, the mainstream finally catches up. It only took a 221% increase from 2012 in the number of people fleeing the "Land of the Free."

The numbers through Dec. 31, 2013, have already set an annual record, as you can see below...

We're fairly certain some of the spike in 2013 can be written off to people who, for whatever reason, weren't counted by the feds in 2012. Even so, the overall trend looks like one of acceleration.

Blame it on the factor we cited in our original report -- the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a provision slipped almost unnoticed into a bigger "jobs bill" in 2010. FATCA "compels foreign financial institutions to disclose the holdings of their American customers to American authorities," as described by Reason's Matthew Feeney -- the better to crack down on Americans supposedly hiding assets overseas.

If the foreign institutions don't want to disclose those holdings, their customers are then subject to a 30% withholding tax on income from American sources. Rather than comply, many foreign banks and brokerages are simply refusing to do business with U.S. citizens.

Even the IRS realizes the rules are wicked complicated: They were supposed to take effect on Jan. 1 of this year -- but in 2011, after large foreign banks squawked, the IRS pushed back that deadline by one year. In July, the IRS pushed it back another six months, to July 1, 2014. Today, just five months out, there's talk about delaying them once again -- this time until Jan. 1, 2015.

The IRS advisory committee that recommended the delay called implementation "an enormous task." Heh... shades of the oh-so-successful Obamacare rollout.

We can't say we get it. It's a lot of hand-wringing for not a lot of payoff: The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation figures FATCA will generate $8.7 billion over 10 years. That's an average $870 million in a single year, or 0.14% of this year's federal budget deficit.


And are you ready for an ironic twist?

“U.S. accounting costs alone are around $2,000 per year for a U.S. citizen residing abroad.”
It may be lower-income Americans leading the charge through the exits. Under an "exit tax" enacted in 2008, expatriating Americans must pay capital gains taxes on the appreciated value of everything they own -- as if they sold it. But the exit tax does not apply if you have a net worth of less than $2 million.

"With increased U.S. tax reporting," Zurich-based U.S. tax lawyer Matthew Ledvina tells Bloomberg, "U.S. accounting costs alone are around $2,000 per year for a U.S. citizen residing abroad." Companies abroad that hire Americans are looking at paperwork costs of up to $5,000 per person.

For wealthy people, those costs are manageable -- or at least tolerable. For Daniel Kuettel, they were not. He's a software developer living near Zurich who gave up his U.S. citizenship last fall. He feared he could not get a mortgage because many Swiss banks want nothing to do with U.S. citizens. "It was a really difficult decision," he told The Wall Street Journal -- and that's even though he wasn't subject to the exit tax.

"My decision was less about the actual amount of taxes I had to pay, and more about the system," said an investment banker who's now a citizen of Hong Kong. "I'm not an ultrawealthy dude," he told the Journal. "It was the hassle with all the paperwork."

The really noteworthy numbers were buried deep within one of the Journal's articles on expatriation: 7.2 million Americans live overseas, according to a State Department estimate. But U.S. taxpayers filed a mere 825,000 foreign account reports in 2012.

That means there are a heck of a lot of "illegal emigrants" -- people who've simply skipped the country and stopped filing tax returns. "As long as they don't try to visit the United States," said an understandably anonymous poster on a Yahoo message board, "or use U.S. embassy or consulate services, they're left alone."

Some days, we start to wonder if they have the right idea…


Friday, February 7, 2014

Ecuador pulls out of regional mutual defense treaty

by Staff Writers Quito (AFP) Feb 05, 2014

President Rafael Correa has pulled Ecuador out of a 1947 hemispheric mutual defense treaty on Wednesday on grounds it is outdated, the foreign ministry announced Wednesday.

The move was the latest in a shift away from US-led security arrangements in the region by Ecuador and other leftist Latin American allies.

The foreign ministry said Correa signed a decree Tuesday, ratifying a decision earlier this month by the National Assembly to withdraw from the treaty.

"Ecuador renounces in all its articles the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance," the foreign ministry said.
Better known as the Rio Treaty, the pact was part of the international security architecture devised by the United States at the start of the Cold War.

Its central principle is that an attack on one country is an attack on all.
Ecuador ratified the treaty in 1950.

Under Correa, a socialist, Ecuador has pared its ties with the United States and has joined new regional blocs with other like-minded leftist governments.

Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua agreed at a meeting in 2012 that they would withdraw from the Rio Treaty.

How to bring your pet to Ecuador hassle-free

I know.  I get it.

Its not your dog, it's your hairy kid.

Leave 'em behind for your big move to Ecuador.  No way.

So how do you bring 'em?  Do you just put 'em on a plane like a human?


The process is more involved, but not as challenging as people think.

First, locate the nearest APHIS (US Department of Agriculture) office near you in the US.

There, they will give you the form you need to fill out with the vet and direct you to a USDA approved vet in your area.

At the vet, you'll have to have your pet get a rabies shot at least 60 days before traveling.    Then within 10 days of traveling you'll have to go back to the vet and have the dog receive about 4-5 more shots including a parasite treatment.  You can see specifically what vaccinations your dog or other pet will need to enter Ecuador here.  

With the vaccination forms signed by the vet you'll need to get them notarized and then stamped by the APHIS office, the APHIS certification will cost around $123 per dog.

Then you'll need to overnight the forms to your nearest Ecuador consulate for a certification by the Ecuador consulate in your home country.

It will cost around $50 a dog for the Ecuador consulate to certify the papers.  They'll then mail them back.

Next you'll need to talk with your airline.  
Generally, if the dog can fit in a small cage that fits under the seat in front of you, you can take it on the plane.  I recommend buying one of those (sherpa) flexible cases so they can be squished a little to fit under the seat.  The airlines say maximum height 7 inches but they are generally a lenient with this rule. Obviously, with a cage that size even the smallest dogs will have to have their head ducked to fit.  
If you have to ship the dog in cargo under the plane know the big difference between DEM WEIGHT vs REAL WEIGHT.

Beyond a certain size the airlines no longer charge by the weight, but instead DEM WEIGHT which is an automatically calculated weight according to the dimensions of the cage, and its pricey!  Go for an airline that will let you get by with REAL WEIGHT.

For instance, to ship a 90 pound dog on United in February of 2014 the cost was $500 (real weight), but it would have been closer to $1500 if shipped via DEM WEIGHT.
Upon arrival in Ecuador, you will have to go to the ADUANAS or customs office next to the airport (in both Quito or Guayaquil) to pick up your pet.

Keep in mind on weekends and Ecuadorian holidays the offices close and your dog will be stuck likely with no food until the next working day!  So try to arrive mid-week.

You'll have to take the original BILL OF LADING which you get when you ship the animal in cargo plus the vaccination papers mentioned above, plus your passport, a color copy of your passport and a copy of your tickets or in the case of e-Tickets your boarding passes.

Try to go with the person who bought the air tickets.

You'll pay roughly $25 to the Ecuador CUSTOMS (Aduana) and $26 to the AGRICALIDAD official for them to release your pet.

That's it.  Fido made it.

More tips for a seemless process:

1. Go with an Ecuadorian, often they will give you less 'run-around' if you go with an Ecuadorian with teeth.

2. For certifying your vet papers try the Ecuador consulate in Arizona, they seem to be more responsive and helpful than the majority of Ecuador consulates.

3. Be mindful of the maximum airline limits for the size of your cage, it may not fit in the airplane door!  Check with your airline beforehand.

4. Once in Ecuador, get to your final destination by land, because boarding another domestic flight with big pets will be another costly hassle.

5. Apostilles and translations aren't necessary for this process as long as you adhere to the requirements stated above.  

Dom Buonamici
Quito Airport Suites