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  • Day11

    A little culture

    November 27, 2017 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    As requested, something a little more cultural for this post. The following is from our tour guide today, augmented with my own thoughts.

    Today is Ecuador’s Independence Day, commemorating liberation from the Spanish Crown. Ecuador has two favourite sons, Simone Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre. They were aristocrats of Spanish descent who, like the United States’ founding fathers, were dissatisfied with subjugation to a distant monarch. They raised an army together and drove the Spanish off the continent entirely. Bolivar had dreams for a united South America (‘Grande Colombia’) but this never eventuated. South America is rich in resources and, organized, Grande Colombia could have rivaled the US. Instead, the continent’s fragmentation, conflict and abuses of power means it has been left seriously underdeveloped. Who wants to invest in a country where everything you work for can be nationalized in a heartbeat?

    Ecuador’s recent political history is similarly chaotic. It’s been invaded three times by Peru since 1941 over some random valley. It had 10 different presidents in the 1990s, then one for 10 years, who was finally forced out this year when he tried to enact laws allowing him to rule indefinitely. The current President, Lenin Moreno, is crippled by a gunshot so was installed by his party as a pitiable public face amidst discontent. He’s gone off script, apparently, and has impeached the former President for corruption. Probably just cleaning house to consolidate his own position though. Madness.

    There’s a doco on Youtube, Civilization: The West and the Rest, which touches on South America’s untapped potential. You need stability, security and accountability to create great countries, something in short supply here.

    Also, do let me know what you want to hear more of. Otherwise you’ll just get me ranting about crappy hostels or South American mismanagement.

    Pics: (1) The Independence Day parade. President Moreno is on the balcony; (2) Pinatas of politicians - one of them is Trump apparently.
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