Ecuador, Country of Contrasts

Ecuador, Country of Contrasts

Ecuador, Country of Contrasts

Ecuador, Country of Contrasts

Excerpt

I have been living in Ecuador for over fifteen years, mainly in Quito and Guayaquil, the two principal towns. I know the rest of the country from extensive trips and repeated stays in places such as Otavalo, famous for its Indians, and Cuenca, centre of the Panama hat industry. I have also travelled on horseback or by canoe through large parts of the Oriente, though not in search of head-hunting Jíbaros or of the far more savage Aucas; and in 1958 I visited the four inhabited islands of the Galápagos and several of the smaller uninhabited ones. Certainly, for the adventurous, there is much to explore off the beaten track in Ecuador, but this book is concerned only with the life of the vast majority of the inhabitants. For these it is not the colourful aspects of the country that are important, but their own daily struggle for existence, which is hard enough to absorb all their strength--a struggle as exhausting at thousands of feet above sea-level as on the hot tropical coast. Science and education are gradually helping to make conditions less difficult, but Ecuadorians know well how far they still have to travel in order to catch up with other countries where life has been easier or where greater progress has been achieved. I have attempted in this study to show what have been Ecuador's chief obstacles so far. Man-made or caused by nature, none of them is insurmountable. The country's possibilities are ready to be developed.

Though a good deal of the material for this study is based on personal observation, I have also consulted numerous publications, including the latest government reports and statistics. For many of the chapters I have further drawn on the help of government officials and of Ecuadorian friends regarded as authorities in their respective fields. Among those to whom I am indebted I should like to express particular gratitude to the following: Mr J. Cosino Cárdenas, of the Central Bank, who supplied me with reports and information on all economic questions, while the staff of his department (of Economic Research) checked many of the statistics and compiled others for my special use; Dr Pío Jaramillo Alvarado, the leading Ecuadorian expert on the Indian question, who also gave me advice on historical and constitutional questions; Dr Manuel Agustín Aguirre, who gave helpful information in connexion with the history of the Socialist Party and the labour movement; Dr . . .

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