¡Aquí se puede hablar del país Ecuador!
Sherry Brideau: Ecuador's official language is Spanish, but Quichua, an Inca language, is spoken by the Indian population. Besides Spanish, ten native languages are spoken in Ecuador.
Janine Trafford: Religion
Iglesia de San Francisco at night
Approximately 95% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic. In the rural parts of Ecuador, indigenous beliefs and Christianity are sometimes syncretized. There is also a growing number of Protestant denominations.
Most festivals and annual parades are based on religious celebrations.
There is a small Muslim minority numbering in the low thousands. The Jewish community numbers just over one thousand and is mostly of German and Italian origin. There are also Sephardic Jews (Judeo-Spanish Jews).
Ecuador Life at its Purest
Flowering plants are very prominent in Ecuador and can be found from the high alpine paramo regions to the tropical rainforests. One of the most diverse in flowers are the sub-tropical cloudforests on both flanks of the Andes mountains.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.
Location: 1.467 S, 78.44 W
Elevation: 16,475 ft. (5023 m)
Tungurahua is an active stratovolcano also known as the "The Black Giant." It has a 600 ft. (183 m) wide crater. Most of the volcano is covered by sn
ow. Its causes many tremors in the nearby city of Banos. Tungurahua's lava is mostly composed of basalts. Tungurahua has had at least seventeen eruptions in historical times, its most recent occurring in 1944 when it erupted explosive
ly from its central crater. Located about 25 miles (~40 km) west of Tungurahua is the largest volcano in Equador, Chimborazo and to the north about 50 miles(~80 km ) is Cotopaxi volcano.
Money of Ecuador
1 US Dollar (USD) = 25,000.0 Ecuador Sucre (ECS)
CURRENT CURRENCY: US Dollars. The government has produced a series of local coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents that have the same value as the American coins (which are also accepted).
Ecuador adopts US dollar
Thursday, 9 March, 2000
Ecuadorean money changers looking for trade
The President of Ecuador, Gustavo Noboa, has signed a law passed by Congress to replace the national currency, the sucre, with the United States dollar.
The measure sets an official exchange rate of 25,000 sucres to the US dollar.
Under the plan, both currencies will be in circulation, but in practice the dollar will be used for all but the smallest transactions.
The country's central bank will no longer print sucre notes or issue debt denominated in the currency. Only coins will still be minted in the local currency.
In a related development, officials at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Development Corporation announced an aid package for Ecuador worth $2bn over the next three years.
President Noboa: under pressure to revive the economy
Correspondents say the adoption of the dollar is a desperate attempt to revive Ecuador's economy, which is in severe difficulty because of currency devaluation, spiralling inflation and a banking crisis.
But the move is likely to face opposition from indigenous Indians, who forced the former president, Jamil Mahuad, from power in January.
Several thousand Indian protesters stormed parliament and declared a new government.
A three-man council was briefly set up to take over the running of the country, but it was disbanded in the face of strong international pressure, and Mr Noboa took over as president.
Indigenous Indians later expressed anger at the outcome, and they have been threatening another uprising.
Their leader Antonio Vargas told a news conference after Mr Noboa's accession that all the problems which brought his followers to Guito were still there - the crippled economy, the government's economic plan and its unwillingness to listen to their complaints.
He said Mr Noboa's government had between three and six months to avert what he called a social explosion.
Inflation topped 60% last year - the highest in Latin America - and more than half of Ecuador's 12 million people are trapped in poverty.
Economic hardship has fuelled protests
In Washington, the World Bank issued a statement saying the $2bn credits would be made available over the next three years to support the government's economic and structural reforms.
If approved by the boards, about $900m would be available for Ecuador over the next 12 months.
The funds would be earmarked to support the replacement of the local currency with the US dollar as well as to shore up the banking system and to strengthen social welfare programmes for the poorest segments of society.
In the proposed package, the International Monetary Fund would contribute $300m, the World Bank $425m, the Inter-American Development Bank $620m and the Andean Development Corporation $700m.
Photo of a church in Ecuador.
Ecuador supports religious freedom enabling all to worship and attend any religious institutes that they choose to support. Primarily people in Ecuador are Roman Catholic, a religion that was introduced into the country when the Spanish took over. About 94% of the Ecuadorian population can be considered Roman Catholic although many also belong to other churches like the Evangelists and Adventists. In the late 1980's there was approximately one priest shepherding over 5 320 Catholic followers, there was definitely a large following to be looked after.
When Catholicism was first introduced into Ecuador it was one of the only colonial institutions to contribute to the society by building schools and providing care for the poor. It was also one of the wealthiest institutions with many people donating money and because of the organization purchasing assets. In the 1960's the Catholic bishops again took it upon themselves to aid in social changes like literacy campaigns and the distribution of land for the deprived Indian people. With this also came conflict between the church and the government on the social and political side of things.
It was realized that although majority of the population considers themselves Catholic many of them don't practice their religion in any way. Many of the Indian tribes like the Sierra Indians, took on Catholic rites and mix it with their own traditional, indigenous beliefs as a form of worship called Folk Catholicism. Others feel strongly about the outside influence that came with the Spanish invasion and today have gone back to their native belief-systems as a way to re-identify themselves as indigenous people living in Ecuador. One of these native beliefs or 'religions' is the 'Pacha mama', which means Mother Earth, and views nature and co-existing with it as vital.
Due to the relatively low Roman Catholic influence on the poorer communities many other missionaries from the Protestant evangelical and Pentecostal found it much easier to find followers. In fact in the 1980's it was estimated that as many as 40% of the people in the Chimborazo Province had changed religious affiliation and were now following these two religions.