The fight for Freedom in Ecuador c.2001

It's been 17 years since I wrote this little Intelligence report on the state of the Free Market Movement in Ecuador. Little did I suspected back then when I came to live in Washington DC that we were going to be in the throes of Socialism of the XXI Century for a decade starting in 2007.

Ecuador is still at risk, there is much to be undone for a decade lost on a much maligned philosophy that consumed Ecuadorians, in which almost everything was lost and the country was closer than ever to become another Venezuela, another Cuba. Ecuadorians still have to fight, they have to recover economically from so much corruption, graft and waste.

Nonetheless I believe that the only reason why Ecuador was not lost at all was due to the fact that there was a small group of people that kept fighting for Freedom with ideas. They were not many before 2001, but I am sure there are many more now after living under the guise of a revolution that promised to get Ecuador out of underdevelopment and poverty at the expense of their freedom.

A younger version of me wrote this paper attached back on my early days at Atlas, it was a market analysis, first step necessary to complete my Internship at Atlas Network. It was a way of providing intelligence for Atlas so see how to help the freedom movement in Ecuador and that required to research the local market. For me it was also a way to know better what was going in my country of birth, put ideas together see what could be done.

Fortunately or unfortunately things changed and rather than returning to Ecuador I got offered to stay at Atlas for a little longer, and a little longer and longer. So far is 17 years and counting with Atlas. But that's another story, what matters and the reason for me to share this is to perhaps inspire or perhaps tell a story that while so far has up's and downs it's a story of what happened back then and what could be done again today to change things for the better.

Yes Ecuador lost a decade from 2007-2017, but I have seen that there is more interest for the ideas of Freedom. Liberty doesn't sounds as fringe as it sounded back then, perhaps what Ecuador went through was necessary to forge on fire the Freedom Movement there. Only under great duress is that stronger things come out. I am only hopeful that things will get better and younger and more enthusiastic people will have better luck than what I had back then.

Word of warning back then my English was not in great shape having arrived in March and writing this in April 2001 and although I have become a better writer and speaker I still don't feel comfortable about my English, so please accept my apologies for my language shortcomings. Some of the actors in my April 2001 report are gone they disappeared in some instances, but in others their participants never left, they just kept the fight from different institutions or through their writings in local newspapers and today are important members of the civil society that keep the fight for freedom like a beacon from their current positions.  I have added a strike-through at the end on the list of institution that have disappeared  (PDF remains unmodified).  Others have appeared but that is the work of others living currently in Ecuador to report.  In any case read below to learn a bit more about the history of The fight for Freedom in Ecuador before 2001.


Data Management and Office Communications

Back in April 23, 2012, I was asked to provide a presentation on Office communication and Data Management for the 2012 ATLAS TTMBA. See the attached presentation that covers my talk. Unfortunately I ran out of time and I was not able to explain to attendees the Zero Inbox Method to keep your email under control.

View more presentations from Romulo Lopez


I confess my weakness

I have a confession to make, I am having a relapse in my bad eating habits and I need your help. Don't tell me that I look fine thin and that I should relax with the food. I consider food addictions as bad as substance addictions. I struggle every day and lately is getting harder and harder to keep the healthy eating, I have been indulging in sweets and stuff that I should not eat despite looking great.

You might be thinking that I am being dramatic but I am not. I have lost before weight (twice but never lost so much) and slowly I have recovered it and made it worst.

I can see the signs, compulsive eating, wanting more, making excuses finishing a box of cereal, feeling lazy for walking. I was told this day was going to come and the truth is that I have lost so much ( 55 ounds) that I don't want come back. I was diabetic and about to have a cardiac problem. Now I walk 4.5 miles diabetis is on remission and heart is strong. So please, your help is needed, don't tell me to relax I am only halfway, I need to keep off the weight and I am making this confession public to get your support.



Manuel Ayau, el luchador por la libertad, el héroe, el abuelo

Estoy profundamente entristecido al conocer del fallecimiento de Muso ocurrido el 03 de agosto. Conocí a Muso, amigo de mi padre, 19 años atrás en 1991. Yo había oído historias interesantes sobre él gracias a mis padres que visitaron Guatemala en 1985. A través de los años mi padre se mantuvo en contacto con él y aunque yo era demasiado joven para entender por qué Ayau era tan importante, empecé a leer mucho más sobre las ideas sobre el libre mercado y la libertad, especialmente historias que estaban escritas para niños. Recuerdo en especial la lectura de un libro ilustrado escrito por Muso "Como mejorar El Nivel de vida". El libro puede que esté en el olvido, pues fue publicado a inicios de los ochenta, pero tuvo un impacto profundo en mí formación ya que me llevó a empezar a leer más y más sobre cuestiones tales como por qué las personas son pobres y cómo la economía y los mercados libres juegan un papel en el bienestar de un individuo. El libro fue uno de los primeros en sembrar en mi cabeza la semillas que dieron inicio a mi trayectoria profesional enfocada en la promoción de la libertad.

Manuel Ayau, the freedom fighter, the hero, the grandfather

I am deeply saddened to learn about Muso's passing away on August 3.  I met Muso, a friend of my father, some 19 years ago in 1991. I had heard some interesting stories about him from my parents when they visited Guatemala in 1985. Over the years my dad kept in
touch with him through meetings and while I was too young to understand why he was so important I started to read a lot more about free market ideas, and to learn about the freedom movement through stories that were written for young kids. I especially remember reading as a preteen Muso's cartoon book " Cómo mejorar el nivel de vida"  (How to improve your living standard).  The book may be long forgotten but it had a deep impact on me because it lead me to start reading more and more why people are poor and how economics and free markets play a role into an individual’s welfare.  He was one of the first to plant the seeds in my head for a career of promoting liberty.
As I grew up I learned more about the Francisco Marroquin University (UFM) which Muso founded, and that inspired me to want to go there to study under the author of that little cartoon book that had made me forget my dreams of studying engineering, which came natural to me.  What I wanted was to learn about economics from Muso on that beautiful campus that I read about through publications and brochures
that my father received from one of his earlier ventures the think tank Center for Economic and Social Studies (CEES).