The Rest

Jul 9, 2013

Postcard from Ecuador: top weather, cheap kebabs waiting for Snowden

As the world waits to see if Edward Snowden will make it to Ecuador, Austin Mackell, a freelance journalist based in Quito, says it's a banana republic no longer.

Flag of Ecuador

It is often difficult to reconcile the Ecuador I wake up in every morning with what I read about in online media and hear about on satellite TV news.

Rather than the kooky left-wing authoritarian basket case in an all-out conflict with the United States, I experience a booming vibrant country that’s found a workable combination of solidarity and free enterprise, and a clearly effective and highly popular leadership recently re-elected with a landslide in elections that not even the hysterical right-wing opposition media seriously alleged were rigged.

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6 thoughts on “Postcard from Ecuador: top weather, cheap kebabs waiting for Snowden

  1. Mike Smith

    Perhaps they could rename the Ecuadorian embassies “Backpacker’s lodges for US whistle-blowers” Add cafes for those of us that’d like to buy Julian or Edward a coffee, and they could turn a profit (Ecuadorian coffee only, of course)

  2. Scott Grant

    Ecuador, of course, was one of the original banana republics, vassal states of the empire of the United States, dominated for many years by corporations such as the United Fruit Company.

  3. Matt Hardin

    Alluded to in the article, Scott. What was your point?

  4. Ian

    I truly admire Ecuador and its leader, Rafael Correa as I do the other Latin American counties with left wing, independent governments like, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

    I only wish Australian and the European governments would follow their lead, particularly in breaking free of the egregious, militaristic dominance of the US but also in moving to the left.

    It is clear to me that the US is basically running wild and the support of countries like Australia are giving it the confidence to go even more berserk.

    I believe that our foreign policy should no longer be a side issue but an important election issue and the two major parties strongly challenged as the Greens and Wikileaks parties plus others are beginning to do.

    Ah but for a bit of media coverage on the issue.

  5. Scott Grant

    My point was to remind people of the history that is bound up in the term banana republic. It has developed a popular meaning that obscures its origins. It is often used in a pejorative sense as if the country itself or its citizens were at fault. Yet the historical reality was colonialism. Countries such as Ecuador have genuine historical reasons to distrust the United States, going back a long time.

    When Paul Keating used the term in reference to Australia, I had no knowledge of its origins and meanings. I had a somewhat cartoonish idea of funny South American countries that staged coups and counter coups every week. Since that time I have read a little bit of the history of several of these countries. One revelation was the realisation that many of the actual coups were instigated by outside forces.

    For most of my life, Australian media has almost totally ignored South American countries, except, on rare occasions, to spin morality tales of the evils of socialism. It is refreshing to read articles like this one.

  6. Gavin Moodie

    I second the motion to stop referring to the country between Canada and Mexico as ‘America’.

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