The City of Fort Worth was the site of an important visit from a government official of Ecuador, September 5th, 2013.
Maria Caridad Vasquez Quezada the Undersecretary of Planning an Development for the South Region of Ecuador, for the past 5 years, received the Key to the City of Fort Worth, with a statement from Mayor Betsy Price "We welcome you to Fort Worth and hope your visit is profitable."
In Ecuador, in the 3 provinces that she is in charge of, new development, new buildings, and planning for all kinds of economic activity cannot proceed without the endorsement and approval of Maria Caridad Vasquez.
Fort Worth Texas is the home of numerous business leaders who love Ecuador, including oil and gas drilling companies and has historically had a strong connection with the industry. "Fort Worth is an example of a city which has developed while maintaining and protecting life style and natural areas" she said. "Thus we welcome people and companies with the best reputations for integrity and social conscience."
Sister Cities received her in the Fort Worth headquarters and Maria Vasquez expressed interest in mutual exchanges especially with the young people of Ecuador. At the Fort Worth Club she was welcomed by influential business leaders.
Ms Vasquez ignited interest among many with hopes in doing future "clean and green" business in Ecuador. She has been a strong advocate of women's rights in Ecuador, as well as the leader of a political party in that nation. Maria Vasquez became something of a 'folk hero' in Ecuador, years ago when a national fast food franchise ran a T.V. advertisement, that said in part: "Our Latin burgers are hot and ready" implying Latin women.
The next day, Ms Vasquez had 10,000 women demonstrating and she orchestrated a new law, requiring public advertisement in Ecuador avoid vulgar and suggestive language and to show respect and decency to women.
She was elected to the City Council of Cuenca, Ecuador. After that she became the leader of a political party and her party endorsed the then new political figure, Raphael Correa, for President.
Although Correa was considered an underdog, his call for an end of corruption and a new constitution, with reforms to help the nation, brought him support of the youth of the nation. Ben Boothe, Publisher of Global Perspectives, from Fort Worth, was one of the first Americans to see the idealism and potential of Correa and after a 2 hour meeting with him in Ecuador, published an endorsement of Correa for President. This article was observed and noted in Washington D.C. and soon thereafter attitudes toward Correa changed.
Rafael Correa was elected President in a run off election, defeating on the the wealthiest and most established power brokers in the nation. Correa has been noted for making many positive reforms for the nation, including, as he promised, eliminating corruption and writing a new constitution. Soon thereafter Ms Vasquez was appointed to the influential position, Undersecretary of Planning and Development, where she oversees all new development activities for three provinces of Ecuador.
"Although this is a personal trip, in Ecuador my office carries national authority, in planning and development, and regardless of local politics, I have to approve any project before it can be developed", she said. "We seek the highest quality people to come to Ecuador, who will use high standards to develop in a first class manner. We welcome the best that America has, to help Ecuador develop in the best and most responsible ways. In this approach, both nations benefit. Fort Worth, has some of the highest quality people in America and that is why I am delighted to be here."
Ms Vasquez will spend the next days in meetings in Fort Worth and Dallas before returning to Ecuador. She can be reached through Ben and Saneh Boothe, well known business people of Fort Worth, who are personal acquaintances of President Raphael Correa and Ms Vazquez.
The Boothe Companies first conducted consulting and environmental studies in Ecuador 7 years ago and provided input to improve development activities there to promote mutually beneficial business and environmental interests.
The U.S. Embassy Staff of Ecuador in the Guayaquil office told Boothe in one of his first visits: "We appreciate and need Americans such as you in Ecuador, because you bring expertise that can benefit Ecuador and provide good relations for the United States."
After Boothe's writings and suggestions to Washington, D.C., Hillary Clinton later visited Ecuador and expressed American good will and interest in improving relations to President Correa.