Southern Exposure

Desde as Entranhas dos Labirintos Latinos.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Ecuador News Round-Up

Greetings, all. The news from Ecuador this Friday morning:

--The biggest national story to emerge of late has to do with tardiness. Ecuadorians, like many others in Latin America, have a decidedly relaxed view of punctuality.

Meetings start late. Classes start late. People show up late for work. And now a coalition of businesses and civic groups wants to change that. They've launched a campaign to stress the importance of being on time. The Washington Post's Scott Wilson weighs in:

"There is this great informality about time -- things start late and end extremely late,'' said Cesar Montufar, director of Citizen Participation, the civic organization spearheading the campaign. "Democracy depends on respect, and this is very much part of that. This is about complying with our duties and responsibilities."

Though it's not mentioned in the article, I can share this piece of anecdotal evidence that suggests the new effort may not pay immediate dividends. It was reported in the local papers that several key officials were late in arriving to the ceremony kicking off the campaign in Guayaquil.

In other news:

--UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently visited latitude zero and chatted with President Lucio Gutierrez.

--And Newsday reported that last week "authorities detained an Italian man after he tried to board a U.S. airliner headed to Newark, N.J., carrying a backpack containing two homemade pistols and a stick of dynamite..." (Frankly, I was surprised not to read about this in the US media. But it appears the passenger was "incoherent" and has no connections to terrorist groups.)

That's it for now.


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