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New Mayor of Cotacachi, Alberto Anrango, Inaugurated

Cotacachi has had a changing of the guard.  During a traditional indigenous ceremony, Alberto Anrango was inaugurated Saturday afternoon as the town’s newest mayor.

Cotacachi New Mayor

He walked down Calle Bolivar and took a seat on the steps of the Cathedral, along with Angel Proano, the city’s new Deputy Mayor, Pedro de la Cruz, a representative in the national Congress, and others.

Cotacachi Mayor inaugeration

Two hours later than the originally-announced time, the inaugural ceremonies got underway.  Gary and I were invited by Anrango to attend and we sat in chairs lining the street in front of the Cathedral.

Cotacachi mayor shaman

On a stage musicians played Andean music and 3 announcers welcomed the officials and the crowd.  A man blew a conch shell and a taita yachak, or shaman, complete with feather headdress, started the ceremony.  He had been seated on the street in front of a large array of fruit artfully arranged for the ceremony on a white sheet with several shamana, female shaman,  standing around him.

Then he rose and spoke in rapid and passionate Quechua for some time, but lost the crowd, which was restive, amused and non-attentive during his oration.  The people in the audience began talking loudly amongst themselves and I realized that the taita yachak seemed to be quite inebriated.

Cotacachi mayor cleansing

Another man in a white campesino shirt and black fedora spoke eloquently in Spanish.  He invoked Pachamama and a diety I had never heard of before:  Pachakama.  (I googled her and discovered that she is a very important regional goddess of soil and seed fertility.)

He spoke of bringing in the light of integration.  I wish I could have understood him.  Even without a knowledge of Spanish, I could tell that his words had great power and beauty.

Then Andrango came down to the fruit display and received the baston de mando, or baton of power, a long stick with a carved bird head at the top, decorated with ribbons and feathers.  This indigenous practice of passing on the baton of power is done for each newly-elected mayor.

Anrango held up the stick, received a blessing and the crowd held hands and chanted with him.

Music and dancing followed with representatives from various local villages in dressed in native costumes.

An interesting side note is that Gary and I have been going to yoga classes on Saturdays for nearly six months with Alberto Anrango’s brother Segundo, who has become a very good friend.   He is also a very devoted seeker of truth.

We have high hopes for Alberto’s tenure in office.  We expect that Cotacachi will undergo many changes in the next few years as more and more North Americans decide to call Cotacachi home.



  1. Bud, before you bundle all the “socialist” presidents of south America together, I think you need to study them a bit more. Poor little Ecuador as you called it is not in such bad financial shape as USA, taking in account their size and resources, thanks to Correa. If you consider yourself as smart as you say, then please go there, visit the country and then share your experience. Don’t base your view in the capitalist view of the US press or mass media. I don’t think you are a racist, but some of your comments about native people do give that impression. If that is the case, please don’t go there; you won’t like it, there are too many of them there.

  2. Well, Bill Ellis, If it’s so good where I am (USA), why are so many Americans looking for somewhere else to go. By your apparent theory, if I dislike Obama so much (and I do, along with all tyrants, including Chavez, Correa, and Morales, who I call South America’s Three Stooges) I should stay in the US and continue to live under his dictatorship and it’s fiats. I’ve said many times that the Ecuadorians are MUCH more likely to boot their tyrant out of office then the sheep in the US. After all, they’ve done it numerous times in the last couple of decades.
    If you read my post, you’ll see that I’ve already decided I won’t become resident in Ecuador as long as long as Chavez, Jr. is in power. The minute he’s gone, I’ll reconsider residency. Can’t guarantee anything, because, although I keep thinking the next guy HAS to be better than the current one, I was hoping Obama would be an improvement over Bush. Boy, was I wrong about that.

    But, I can still visit. I need to check it out myself since I’m beginning to get a picture of why poor little Ecuador keeps shooting itself in the foot by periodically electing socialist tyrants as president. One fortunate thing about Ecuador is that the N. American-European expats seem to be dispersed throughout the country, so I don’t have to live among a concentration of the same stupid gringos I’m trying to escape from.

  3. If you dislike Obama so much you probably wouldn’t want to live a place like Ecuador, Perhaps you would be better staying where you are.


  4. Linda or Gary,

    I haven’t visited Ecuador yet-still trying to decide where in the world outside the US I want to go. I won’t be a full-time Ecuadorean resident due to Correa’s intrusive property declaration law. He’s as crazy as Obama. I was wondering about the local politics of Cotacachi specifically, but the small towns and villages in general. Are they all part of some sort of indigenous reservation? I notice the previous mayor and the new on are both Indians and were “installed” in office with some indigenous ceremony. Nothing wrong with that, but, just as in the US, Native American society is definitely communal/collectivist–hence, I suppose, the predilection in the Andean countries towards socialism. Not that it’s much different in the U.S. nowadays.