As I walk these ancient streets, streets older than anything in the USA, there is a charming "taste of old Spain" here. Ecuador is a beautiful nation. It has everything! Mountains, ocean front beaches, jungles, lovely cities, and warm intelligent people. Inexpensive labor produces outstanding leather goods, it has an oil industry, and exports many hard woods. With inexpensive labor many European nations have come to Ecuador and other South American nations to develop markets they have lost in America and other places due to stiff competition with China, as well as negative impacts resulting from the fallen dollar Ecuador and other nations in this sector are attractive markets for them.
But a trip to the small outlying towns brings another perspective. These small villages are called the "cities of tears" (the crying cities). Most of the inhabitants are women living alone. Most of the men are gone...gone to Spain, or the USA, to seek jobs abroad. It is odd to see towns with no men...just woman living on the checks they get from abroad, or from what small work they can do.
Ecuador still has a situation where most of the wealth, most of the property, is controlled and owned by a small percentage of people. Thus, there is evidence of great wealth...in a few hANDS. But there is an encouraging trend. The GLOBAL GENERATION of young, educated Ecuadorians, is trying to make a difference. These "connected" people, like Maria Caridad Vasquez, are politically active, honest, and want to bring more opportunity and a more balanced economy to their people.
We see this all over the world. A generation of bright and aggressive people, with high ideals, as well as a "fire" in their hearts to make things better in their nations. If the world, this Christmas, has hope for peace and prosperity...it is largely a hope in the hands of people like Maria...the connected generation. You can see the fire in their eyes...these people...from Ecuador, to Mongolia...from Tibet to Cambodia. They are honest, educated, and not driven by relious fanaticism. They will repace the corrupt "older" generation, and bring a new world...a better place. So, as my Christmas greeting...I want to encourage Maria...and her peers throughout the globe. You are our hope for the future...for peace...and for a Merry Christmas. People like you will someday wipe the tears away from the "crying cities".