Last newsletter, we wrote an article on the Declaracion Patrimonial law whereby Ecuador was wanting to collect detailed financial information from every person in Ecuador who owns assets of more than $200k for an individual and $400k for a couple.
This article created quite a stir among our readers, many who said, and I paraphrase, “I will never come to live in Ecuador now.”
Yesterday, I received the following news article from a reader:
NEW PERSONAL ASSET REPORTING REQUIREMENT REJECTED BY COURT
Ecuador’s new asset disclosure law remains in limbo after a court in Guayaquil ruled the measure illegal early this week. The law would require the reporting of personal assets by Ecuadorian citizens and residents of more than $200,000 held by individuals and $400,000 held by married couples.
Following the ruling by the Ninth Court of Guayaquil, director of Ecuador’s Internal Revenue Service (SRI), Carlos Marx Carrasco, said the SRI (equivalent of the U.S. IRS) disagreed with the ruling and would appeal.
An unnamed source at the SRI said that it is unlikely that even with a reversal of the court decision that the government can enforce the new law this year. “We don’t have the data bases to track and verify most financial information. To establish this will take several years.”
He added that his office expects a very low rate of compliance once the rule is in effect. “Most Ecuadorians are unaware of the requirement and those who are understand its real intent, which is to pursue assets taken out of the country during the economic crisis 10 years ago and during changes of presidential administrations. Billions of dollars in government assets were removed from Ecuador illegally. Most of this is in Miami and Panama City and we would like to get it back.”
This brings me to today’s View from the Roof. There are three ways to approach life: 1) from the head, 2) from the heart, and 3) a combination of the two.
A good number of the emails and inquiries we get these days are from people in category number 1. They are motivated by fear: fear that an economic/political tsumani is coming to North America, but fear also that they are considering moving into the path of a similar storm in Ecuador.
Their emails are often filled with countless questions and a feeling of anxiety, as the writers try to figure out what is going to make them safe. Some say, “I am considering retiring to Ecuador in a few years, and please tell me all about visas, shipping, land house prices, political stability, attorneys, taxes, banks, Columbia guerillas, etc. etc. etc.
Of these inquiries I would say that only 10% ever make it to Ecuador. And it comes as no surprise that those who do get here are quite dissatisfied because “this isn’t the way they do things in the U.S.”
If we focus on fear, we take that fear with us no matter where we go in the world and then we create from that fear. In other words, we will manifest those fears.
The heart people in category 2 move more by instinct. They feel the same tsunami coming and write, “I’m coming, will be there in two weeks. I’d like to have land or a house. I’m interested in the beach. (Or the mountains.) Can you help me when I get there?”
These people generally have an easier time of it. They are coming more from a place of trust and of positively creating the new life they want. That is their focus.
But unless they are very grounded, they can tend to have some difficulty getting everything together. When it comes to the actual logistics of making the move, they may tend to revert to the “Please, somebody help me,” stage because they don’t always do their fact-finding or due diligence.
The last group of people are those we call Eagle and Condor people. They are motivated because their instinct tells them that something big is coming and they need to get out of the way. But they have followed up this feeling or anxiety or suspicion with some practical homework, reading the news, and checking out the economic and political situations from more than one perspective. Then they began to focus on their options and desires.
Ecuador comes up on their radar as a possible place to live. It just feels right. They tend to write a few emails to us to confirm both their intuition and to gather additional information needed to make a balanced decision. Once confirmed, they begin to take action and make decisions based not upon their fear of the future, but upon the practicality of the moment and the following of their dreams.
They recognize that politics change, presidents come and go, not only in the U.S., but in other countries as well, and that none of it needs to be taken too seriously with the head. If the heart senses a significant change in climate, balanced with enough good common sense and fact-finding from the head, then this needs to be taken seriously. Action generally follows with not a lot of second -guessing.
In pre-war Nazi Germany many Jews sensed a huge tidal wave of change coming, but their heads kept telling them, “No, it can’t happen here, not to me. I’ll be okay, I’ll just keep my mouth shut, pay my taxes, be a good citizen and do what I’m told. Everything will be fine.”
But the ones who listened to their hearts, collected accurate information with their heads and took the next logical steps made a move and escaped the horrors of Buchenwald and Auschwitz.
My point in all this is that the head will always attempt to find ways to over-ride the heart. “Correa is a flaming socialist,” is one of the primary reasons people choose not to look at Ecuador, never noticing that one of the largest companies in the U.S., General Motors, is now owned 60% by the U.S. government, and that the bank bailout, started by Bush, now puts most banking and insurance risk in the hands of U.S. taxpayers.
“I’m afraid the Ecuadorian government will take my property,” is another cry we hear often, even as hundreds of thousands of American are being foreclosed upon, and the bankers who created the mess are being bailed out with trillions of our tax dollars. Isn’t this a massive takeover of North American property?
The truth: foreclosures are very rare in Ecuador, as most people own their own homes, free and clear. Long-term mortgages are uncommon. In most South American countries, when land has been confiscated, and that has happened, it is because huge land holders are holding land that is not in production.
Typically, it has been taken away, often with just compensation, but not always, and given to small farmers to return the land to productivity. Sounds a bit like the eminent domain process in the U.S. That system allows building contractors and others to seize property.
In Central and South America, the incidents of small land holders, typically indigenous people, having their land taken away and given to large multinational corporations, with International Monetary Fund and World Bank support, is much more prevalent than the state confiscation.
Right now in Peru, a huge battle is in the works. The U.S. -supported government of Alan Garcia is using the new Free Trade treaty with the U.S. to justify taking huge swaths of Amazon land for commercial exploitation, without considering the rights of the native peoples who have been living on the land for centuries. Dozens have been killed.
So take much what you read and hear with a grain of salt and a skeptical view. If it sounds unreasonable, it probably is, or will be shown to be. Do your own due diligence. What seems like today’s fact is often nothing more than grist for tomorrow’s fiction.
In truth, none of us know what is going to happen tomorrow. But what we can do is learn to listen to our hearts, supplemented by information gained by our heads. Then act—calming, rationally and with trust and enthusiasm for the new life you will create.
When the huge Asian tsunami hit a few years ago the ocean began to withdraw from the beach. Those in touch with what was happening began a mad dash towards the hills. They were not panicking. They simply knew, both from instinct and experience, what was coming and they hauled ass.
Many were saved. Others who were not in touch, got excited that they were able to walk way out into the newly-expanded beach. And they had a very different experience. Guess what happened to them . . . ?