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Ecuador Elections

Here is a review on Ecuador’s recent referendum.

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correa

Photos I took of Correa on the campaign trail. He is a great…

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campaigner but in the long run, being great at pressing the flesh is not always enough.

A reader asked about the results when he wrote: The recent election does not bode well for Ecuador. It looks like it is moving ever closer to a Chavez type dictatorship. What say you?

My reply:   I pay so little attention to politics. I favored some of the issues including banning casinos and not killing bulls in bull fights… but not one of my numerous contacts mentioned this voting.  Most of us feel this is just a political ploy and I have stated on numerous occasions that I don’t pay a lot of  attention to politics.  I doubt that politicians know very often what they are going to do… so second guessing them is a waste of time.   The main thing I watch is the people and if I see solid people and a perception that politics are bad… then I’ll be more likely to invest.

Ecuador’s politics are far too complicated for me to make predictions, but Correa’s coming from an educational rather than military background and his falling out with the indigenous block makes a Chavez type gvt. unlikely.  Actually considering the politicians Ecuador (and the US for that matter) have had, I quite like Correa… but then again like most expats I am very much on the sidelines.

This election would not seem to have any impact on expats at this time which is my main concern and those who worry about Ecuador becoming more socialistic, my feeling is that I have feel far less goverment intrusion in Ecuador than in the USA.

Losing separation of powers is always a concern in any democracy or government, but Correa may be correct that the judicial system in Ecuador needs reform.   Overall… this seems neutral to me and expats. Gary

However since I really know so little about what’s really going on in the Quito or Washington DC halls of power, I have asked many of our Ecuador contacts their opinion of what these elections might mean as well.

Many Ecuadorians apparently felt as I did.  Our Cuenca Ateam leader asked around and wrote:  I asked several locals who didn’t have any comments other than it’s business as usual.

Another a European businessman with activities across Ecuador said: Gary,  I do not have any strong interest or opinion on this.. The president and his staff should be very disappointed with the results… non of the questions received 50% approval so it might be complicated for the government to make all the changes he wants. The most polemic question was the one about the rights and limitation for the media and it looks like he can even lose this one. People voted to ban casinos throughout the country and in Quito it is no longer possible to kill the bulls during the bull fights… but it will still be possible in other provinces.

It was more a vote for or against the president and it will be interesting to see how this narrow win will affect his presidency in the future. My guess is that they will continue their revolution with the same conviction as before. I have lost interest in the politics here in Ecuador so sorry about this vague comments!

Another European businessman living in Ecuador for years wrote:  “The most common criticism of President Correa is that he is trying to grab more power. CNN reported that the referendum was used to “consolidate more power”, and the BBC spoke of an outright “power grab”. Yes, it is important to ensure that no individual politician or party gets too powerful. But for a country that is in Ecuador’s position, is it such a bad thing to have a relatively strong ruler at its helm? Case in point, Russia at the turn of the millenium. Vladimir Putin was widely criticized for ruling the country with a whip. Yet, today it’s evident that this was exactly what was needed to get the chaotic, corrupt nation into a better shape. Russia’s GDP has grown 8 fold since then, bringing its population a kind of freedom that they had never known (just ask any of the countless Russian tourists you nowadays encounter in far-away countries such as Ecuador!). The one thing that President Correa has managed to bring to Ecuador without doubt, is a certain level of stability. Not everything that his administration is doing would find my agreement, but overall, to have him has proven to be better than any of his 10 predecessors, some of whom had to actually leave the country because of corruption claims against them. As someone who has been doing business in Ecuador since 2005, I tend to find the Western media reporting on Ecuador to be overly panicky and missing the big picture of this country’s considerable potential. President Correa deserves more recognition than the Western media is giving him, and the fact that he is calling a referendum in the first place to give the population a say in crucial matters, is also saying something about the country.” Hope all is well !

An Ecuador businessman in the export business said: Let me put a nice piece on this, I was actually thinking about it but there is a catch, the official numbers are much lower than what the government said yesterday, so for example, they (Correa) said that they won 65% to 35%, by exit poll data (which by the way was done by a company close to the government, that actually works for the government) in any case, now that we are finding the actual real data, the difference is much lower, on average is 47% saying YES and 43-44% saying NO.

So even when the government won, the margin is so low that we have to wait for more data to know what % that will be. And also, the government got less than 50% in all of the questions, which means than less than half of the country is supporting him.

An Ecuadorian businessman shared this: There were 10 questions that Ecuadorian voters had to answer ranging about:

* Pretrial detention measures

* Ownership of media by banks

* Judicial court composition

* Illicit private enrichment

* Prohibition of casinos and gambling

* Bull fighting with death of the bull (or not)

Labour laws making it a criminal offense not to affiliate workers to the social security system.

Except for the bull fighting/death of the animal which was  a local canton vote, the government won all 9 questions.

President Correa got his wishes.  He tries to protect people from their vices i.e. Gambling, drinking.  There is already a law that forbids the sale of alcohol on Sundays for example. He wants to protect the future of the workers by trying to get all employers to pay for social security. These may be good.

He is usually at odds with the medias and has pushed through a law that will now forbid ownership of medias by banks. He has re-organized the board that will regulate content in the medias. This can be seen as a way to silence some opposition or even censorship.

Employers that I have talked to are very concerned about competitiveness (esp. with Columbia) and some companies will be leaving the country.   There is also talk about raising the minimum wage from $240 to over $400/month.

Here are the results :

Question #1: Caducidad de la prision preventiva (Expiration of the prison preventive): Yes 49. 21%  No: 40. 44%

Question #2: Medidas sustitutivas a la prisión preventiva (Substitute measures to the custody): Yes: 46,99%   No: 42,39%

Question #3: Prohibiciones banca y medios (Preventing banks owning media): Yes 45.98%  No: 43.42%

Question #4: Consejo de Judicatura de Transición (Transition Judgeship counsel): Yes 44.86%  No: 44,15%

Question #5: Cambio Composición del Consejo de la Judicatura (Change Composition of the Counsel of the Judgeship)   Yes: 45.40%  No: 43.55%

Question # 6: Enriquecimiento ilícito privado no justificado (Unjustified private illicit enrichment):  Yes 45.48%
No: 42.12%

Question #7: Prohibición de casinos y salas de juego (Prohibition of casinos)  Yes: 45.04%  No: 42.79

Question #8: Prohibición de espectáculos con muerte del animal (Prohibition of spectacles with death of the animal).   Only Quito prohibited.

Question #9: Consejo de Regulación de contenidos de los medios (Contents Regulation counsel of the media)

Yes: 43.84%  No: 43.55%

Question #10: La no afiliación al IESS como infracción penal (The not affiliation to the IESS as penal infraction) Yes: 46.67%  No: 40.97%

Another Ecuador businessman wrote: There are two big items in the news today.   One is that in the referendum NO was almost equal in two important questions. The one about controlling the judiciary system #4 and the other about controlling the media #9.    We can’t really assume that this is victory, but it will reflect that somehow the government has lost support and his leftist philosophy has lost ground even on the left.

By tying with these 2 questions, Correa lost two of the most important issues that he fought for, meaning that his idea of a big government controlling everything will soon fade, at least in the form that he wanted to.

An Ecuador attorney shared this. Hello Gary:   A vote was held  on 10 legal reforms proposed by President Correa. Beyond the pertinence of the reforms, in practice the vote was mostly to approve or disprove President Correa. This is the way these referendums normally work in Ecuador.  The vote came in very tight with the approval of the reforms edging the no vote by very little. For a President accustomed to clear victories at the poll this may come as a disappointment to him. In any case, his thesis won the referendum. I believe this referendum was an utter waste of time.

Here is another opinion by an Ecuadorian. Well, it seems that we will have the final results from the referendum, but that will be about it.

It is hard to tell what comes next when there is no ideology, the questions did not create the path to either left or right, they were more about a vote for me or against me. Of course controlling the judiciary system is a big step, but then again it is not about left or right, it is more about “me” having all the power.

In any case the final results will show that more than half the country did not vote for the President, his proposal got less than half of the votes and on his “celebration” he had to walk out of the stage because the margin by which he won was not as big as he thought.

Of course nothing has changed for him, the confrontation level has not receded and he still thinks that 70% of the population backs him up.  I don’t know how he gets his math done, but those are his words. So what we will see next is a scenario full of surprises. The powerful groups will take this as a wake up call, if they are for him then they will be more careful because his power if fading, and if they oppose him, they will speak up louder than before.

Without much margin on his favor the indigenous movements have told him (Correa) that they will not abide by the results, meaning that they will “resist” and will not comply with the new laws. This whole implementing the new rules will be a monumental task.

So things are tough, but as a friend of mine always says, “if it was easy everybody will do it”. We just hope that our country grows and most of us benefit from that.  We hope that the poor will benefit more than the rest of us. We also hope that we don’t get pushed or discriminated against because we are entrepreneurs. Business is not a bad thing you know!

Gosh if I did not hear that from an Ecuadorian I might think that these last comments came from an American… or Canadian… or European businessman!

Hopefully sharing these thoughts by others, gives us a little more light on how life and business in Ecuador might unfold.

In the end I do not have a clue what will happen in Ecuadorian… or global politics. Obviously most people do not… though many like to spend time acting like they do. For example who would or could have predicted what would happen in French politics… and how this could affect the global economy.

My way of dealing with an inability to see the future is to do all I can to be as good at business and investing as I can and remain flexible, steadfast and progressive.  I study history. Right now I am rereading “The Gathering Storm” by Winston Churchill and leave you with one of his quotes… appropriate to war but perhaps a  good comment on living as well since this is a world where we have little we can do to alter the course of global events.

It is a curious fact about the British Islanders who hate drill and have not been invaded for nearly a thousand years, that as grave danger comes nearer and grows they become progressively less nervous; when it is imminent they are fierce; when it is mortal they are fearless. These habits have led them into some very narrow escapes.

Gary

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2013-2014 Super Thinking + Spanish – Writing to Sell – Business & Investing Course Schedule

Schedule 2013-2014  Super Thinking + Spanish  – Writing to Sell – Investing & Business Courses.

Here are photos I took of Mt. Dora…

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during…

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its annual arts festival. 

2013

June 21-22-23  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 5-6-7  Super Thinking + Spanish  Sarasota, Florida  Single $699  /  Couple $899  (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 12-13-14 Super Thinking + Spanish Kelowna, BC, Canada  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teachers Shawn & Suzanne Bandick)

August 16-17-18  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

August 31-September 1-2  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp  West Jefferson, NC  (Gary & Merri Scott)

September 27-28-29  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

October 4-5-6  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  West Jefferson, NC  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999 (Gary & Merri Scott)

November 15-16-17   Super Thinking + Writer’s Camp  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott) 

November 21-22-23  Super Thinking +Spanish  Puerto Aventuras, Mexico Single $699/Couple $899 (Teachers Suzanne & Shawn Bandick)

2014

January 10-11-12   Super Thinking + Spanish  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott)

February 14-15-16  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  Mt. Dora, Florida  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999  (Gary & Merri Scott)

For information more contact Cheri Hall at cheri@garyascott.com

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