October 20, 2012

Five facts about the 'Republic of the Ecuator'

1. The capital of Ecuador is Quito, the highest capital city in the world and one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, declared by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1978;

2.  The president of Ecuador is Rafael Correa, a progressive politician who fought for anti-poverty strategies and canceled Ecuador's debt, breaking with IMF policies and instead drew Ecuador into alliance with the Bolivarian Revolution and lead the re-writing of the Constitution of the country along more democratic lines. He is fluent in Spanish and the indigenous language of Quechua as well as French and English.

3. Since 2000, the currency of Ecuador has been the US dollar. The current administration is trying to break away from the dollar and is discussing a pan-Latin American currency. It also cancelled the contact for the major US military base in Ecuador, forcing them to withdraw.

4. Ecuador is about to sieze $200 million of Chevron assets because of pollution by that company in the Amazon.

5. Ecuador country has three main geographic regions, plus an insular region in the Pacific Ocean: La Sierra, ("the highlands") is the high-altitude belt running north-south along the centre of the country, its mountainous terrain dominated by the Andes mountain range; La Amazonía, also known as El Oriente ("the east"), comprises the Amazon rainforest areas in the eastern part of the country, accounting for just under half of the country's total surface area, though populated by less than 5% of the population; and The Región Insular is the region comprising the Galápagos Islands, some 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.

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