Ecuadorians visit the USA to observe and study elections

I was privileged to speak for a group called: Civic Oversight and Elections in the U.S., here from Ecuador. This group included civic leaders, professors, a council woman, a radio director, and advisor to the Supreme Elections Tribunal in Ecuador, and other provincial leaders. It was an intelligent and spirited group.

Ecuador at a glance

Population: 12,156,000 GDP: Growth 3.5% in 2002, 2.5% 2003, 5-6% in 2004-11-04 Major mineral: Petroleum 15% of GDP, 40% of total exports Terrain: Ocean, Mountains, Volcanoes, Jungles, varied terrain People: Nice, friendly, hospitable, 85+% literacy rate

They asked about the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties and the elections in general. The group was particularly interested in the apparent trend of mixing church and state in American politics and the impacts that the volatile mixture of religion and politics could have in the USA and the world at large.

One of the participants "Maita Maria Caridad Vasquez" said: "If Kerry had taken a strong, non compromising stance against the war in Iraq, don't you think that he would have done better in the elections?"

My reply was that Kerry was a long standing politician, and perhaps he was too reticent to give a strong denunciation of the war. But, yes, perhaps it would have been effective if he had been stronger and less compromising.

You will enjoy this. An Ecuadorian man asked this question: "In the next election, it is said that Hillary Clinton will be the candidate for U.S. President. Do you think that a woman can do a job as complicated as that of being president?" I laughed, and looked around at the many capable women present in the room. "Yes" I said. "A woman can do the job and do it well. In my many businesses and banks over the years, I have found that women are often the most efficient business managers. Yes, Hillary Clinton is up to the job and many women, who are very politically active, would like to see a woman President!"

The men in the room laughed as they looked at the women in the room who were obviously in agreement.

I posed a question to this group of intellectuals from Ecuador. "What is the perception of Ecuadorians regarding U.S. foreign policy?"

A well dressed young woman stood up and replied: "In our country, we believe that the American INVASION of Iraq was for reasons of greed and business, not because of terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. We are concerned that America can, and does take unilateral military actions all over the world. We are concerned about the military power and how it is used. And we are concerned that the things America is doing, hinders human rights and sets the world back in the struggle for peace."

The group was a happy and intellectual group. We all shared our dreams that enlightened people, the "CONNECTED GLOBAL GENERATION" would become more active and involved and help teach and guide the people of all nations to the paths of tolerance, understanding, and peace.

The Equadorians invited me to come to Ecuador, to see their country and to exchange ideas there. I'm already packing. Come and go with me!