Ecuador: In Focus. History and Politics. Power in Ecuador has changed hands many times. First ruled by the Incas. Incan ruler Huayna -Capac died; kingdom split between 2 sons. Atahualpa ruled North, Huascar ruled South. Atahualpa invaded South, killing his brother and reunited the kingdom.
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Power in Ecuador has changed hands many times.
First ruled by the Incas.
Incan ruler Huayna-Capac died; kingdom split between 2 sons.
Atahualpa ruled North, Huascar ruled South.
Atahualpa invaded South, killing his brother and reunited the kingdom.
Kingdom was weakened.
Spanish conquistador Pizarro invaded and killed Atahualpa.
Conquest complete: Dec. 6, 1534. Kingdom named the Royal District of Quito.
Years of native resistance; Jose de Sucro defeated the Spanish and natives were freed from their rule.
Ecuador was then named the Audencia de Quito.
This federation fell apart in 1830.
Juan Jose Flores founded “Ecuador”, so named because of its location on the equator.
Although Ecuador was thought to have some measure of peace after this turbulent history, their border disputes with Peru continue until this day.
People: Indigenous tribes, Europeans, and descendants of African slaves.
Descendants of Indians and Spaniard are mestizos, or chagras (cowboys).
Most impoverished: indigenous and Africans.
Disproportioned wealth tracing back to times of slavery and Spanish rule.
Overall, very friendly.
Rule by “macho” society.
Alcoholism sometimes rampant, leading to domestic disputes.
Racism is also a problem.
Mestizos and whites look on Indians as second-class citizens.
Virtually no interracial mixing.
Great difference in quality between state and private hospitals.
Majority of population has no access to adequate healthcare because they do not live in the larger cities.
These people instead turn to a shaman for their treatments.
A shaman’s practice is a mix of science, religion, and politics.
Highly esteemed by their people.
Education is severely lacking in Ecuador.
Every child is entitled to 9 years of education, but most only complete 6 years.
One of the central problems is that teacher training is often inadequate.
Many children work in the streets, selling wares.
96% of the country is Roman Catholic. Its influence remains a prevalent part of Ecuadorean society.
Greatest export: petroleum.
Since 1970, transformation from an agricultural economy to an oil economy
The country invested a large sum in the industrial sector that led to great national debt
In 1996, this debt was $16 billion or $1400 pp
The greatest problem: structural imbalance.
Ecuador earns foreign currency from natural resources
Industrial aspect of the economy is virtually nonexistent.
Prediction: supply of natural resources will be depleted in 20 years
Major exporter of bananas, cut flowers, cocoa, coffee, and shrimp
world’s only exporter of “vegetable ivory” called tagua, which is a brown nut
200 pounds of nuts will produce as many products as one elephant tusk valued at $10,000
Use of natural resources=exploitation of the natural environment
Pesticide poisoning, deforestation, and pollution are great causes for concern
Oil leaks are also a huge problem: one pipe leaked a total of 30 times over the course of 20 years.
Tourism in Ecuador has increased in recent years, providing hope
Tourists offer a great addition to Ecuadoreans’ income
For this reason, many are very welcoming and hospitable to strangers
Festivals are the high points of the year and a mixture of Roman Catholic and Indian traditions
One person is chosen each year to be the prioste, who is the sponsor and organizer of the festival.
Many of the festivals coincide with Christian holidays
Ex: “pase del niño” ( Christmas) and “hoyfanesca” (Good Friday)
The center piece of each festival is the roast guinea pig
A tiny bone from the ear is placed in a glass with a strong drink. Whoever swallows the bone in one gulp is allowed to make a wish.
Music is an integral part of the festivals: traditional Indian music and modern Spanish-European music
The two most important sports played are soccer and volleyball
Graffiti is an expressive part of Ecuadorean culture
Ecuador graffiti is poetic and inspiring, such as
“No esmasfacildescribir lo que no esamor.”
Crime is prevalent in big cities and tourist sites
Other hazards include unhygienic restaurants and “some of the world’s worst drivers”.
Health issues include malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis, and altitude sickness
“It is advisable not to buy any illegal drugs in Ecuador, since penalties are harsh and prisons far from comfortable.”
Despite its turbulent history and high crime rate, Ecuador is a place of great beauty.
It is claimed that you can canoe in the Amazon rainforest in the morning, cross the Andes in the afternoon, and swim in the tropical Pacific Ocean in the evening.