Introduction What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests in Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ecuador's last three democratically elected Presidents. In 2007, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft a new constitution; Ecuador's twentieth since gaining independence.

Evidence of human cultures in Ecuador exists from c. 3500 B.C. [2] Many civilizations rose throughout Ecuador, such as the Valdivia Culture and Machalilla Culture on the coast, the Quitus (near present day Quito) and the Cañari (in present day Cuenca). Each civilization developed its own distinctive architecture, pottery, and religious interests. After years of fiery resistance by the Cañari and other tribes, as demonstrated by the battle of Yahuarcocha (Blood Lake) where thousands of resistance fighters were killed and thrown in the lake, what is now Ecuador fell to the Incan expansion and was assimilated loosely into the Incan empire.

Through a succession of wars and marriages among the nations that inhabited the valley, the region became part of the Inca Empire. Atahualpa, one of the sons of the Inca emperor Huayna Capac, could not receive the crown of the Empire since the emperor had another son, Huascar, born in Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. Upon Huayna Capac's death, the empire was divided in two: Atahualpa received the north, with his capital in Quito; Huascar received the south, with its capital in Cusco. In 1530, Atahualpa defeated Huascar and conquered the entire Empire for the crown of Quito.

Barely a year later, in 1531, the Spanish conquistadors, under Francisco Pizarro, arrived to find an Inca empire torn by civil war. Atahualpa wanted to reestablish a unified Incan empire; the Spanish, however, had conquest intentions and established themselves in a fort in Cajamarca, captured Atahualpa during the Battle of Cajamarca, and held him for ransom. The Incas filled one room with gold and two with silver to secure his release. Despite being surrounded and vastly outnumbered, the Spanish executed Atahualpa. To escape the confines of the fort, the Spaniards fired all their cannons and broke through the lines of the bewildered Incans. In subsequent years, the Spanish colonists became the new elite, centering their power in the vice-royalties of Nueva Granada and Lima.

The indigenous population was decimated by disease during the first decades of Spanish rule — a time when the natives also were forced into the "encomienda" labor system for Spanish landlords. In 1563, Quito became the seat of a royal audiencia (administrative district) of Spain and part of the Vice-Royalty of Lima, and later the Vice-Royalty of Nueva Granada.

After nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was a city of 10,000 inhabitants. It was there, on August 10, 1809 (the national holiday), that the first call for independence from Spain was made in Latin America ("Primer Grito de la Independencia"), under the leadership of the city's criollos like Carlos Montúfar, Eugenio Espejo and Bishop Cuero y Caicedo. Quito's nickname, "Luz de América" ("Light of America"), comes from the idea that this first attempt produced the inspiration for the rest of Spanish America, creating a domino effect that would ultimately lead to the expulsion of Spain from the continent.

On October 9, 1820, Guayaquil became the first city in Ecuador to gain its independence from Spain. It was not until May 24, 1822, that the rest of Ecuador gained its independence after Field Marshal Antonio José de Sucre defeated the Spaniard Royalist forces at the Batalla del Pichincha (Battle of Pichincha) near Quito. Following the battle, Ecuador joined Simón Bolívar's Republic of Gran Colombia, only to become a republic in 1830.

The 19th century for Ecuador was marked by instability, with a rapid succession of rulers. The first president of Ecuador was the Venezuelan born Juan José Flores, who was ultimately deposed, followed by many authoritarian leaders such as Vicente Rocafuerte, José Joaquín de Olmedo, José María Urbina, Diego Noboa, Pedro José de Arteta, Manuel de Ascásubi and Flores's own son, Antonio Flores Jijón, among others. The conservative Gabriel Garcia Moreno unified the country in the 1860s with the support of the Roman Catholic Church. In the late 19th century, world demand for cocoa tied the economy to commodity exports and led to migrations from the highlands to the agricultural frontier on the coast.

A coastal-based liberal revolution in 1895 under Eloy Alfaro reduced the power of the clergy and the conservative land owners of the highlands, and this liberal wing retained power until the military "Julian Revolution" of 1925. The 1930s and 1940s were marked by instability and emergence of populist politicians such as five-time President José María Velasco Ibarra.

Control over territory in the Amazon basin led to a long-lasting dispute between Ecuador and Peru. In 1941, amid fast-growing tensions between the two countries, war broke out. Peru claimed that Ecuador's military presence in Peruvian-claimed territory was an invasion; Ecuador, for its part, claimed that Peru had invaded Ecuador. In July 1941, troops were mobilized in both countries. Peru had an army of 11,681 troops who faced a poorly-supplied and inadequately-armed Ecuadorean force of 5,300, of which only 1,300 were deployed in the southern provinces. Hostilities erupted on July 5, 1941, when Peruvian forces crossed the Zarumilla river at several locations, testing the strength and resolve of the Ecuadorean border troops. Finally, on July 23, 1941, the Peruvians launched a major invasion, crossing the Zarumilla river in force and advancing into the Ecuadorean province of El Oro.

During the course of the war, Peru gained control over all the disputed territory and occupied the Ecuadorean province of El Oro, now Tumbes, and some parts of the province of Loja (65 percent of the former country), demanding that the Ecuadorean government give up its territorial claims. The Peruvian Navy blocked the port of Guayaquil, cutting supplies to the Ecuadorean troops. After a few weeks of war and under pressure by the U.S. and several Latin American nations, all fighting came to a stop. Ecuador and Peru came to an accord formalized in the Rio Protocol, signed on January 29, 1942, in favor of hemispheric unity against the Axis Powers in World War II. As a result of its victory, Peru was awarded the disputed territory.

Due to the fact that a small river in the conflict region was not cataloged in the Rio de Janeiro Protocol, Ecuadorean governments believed the Rio Protocol was not valid. It would take two more undeclared wars before a peace agreement was finally reached in 1998 to end hostilities. (See Paquisha Incident and Cenepa War.)

Recession and popular unrest led to a return to populist politics and domestic military interventions in the 1960s, while foreign companies developed oil resources in the Ecuadorean Amazon. In 1972, construction of the Andean pipeline was completed. The pipeline brought oil from the east side of the Andes to the coast, making Ecuador South America's second largest oil exporter. That same year a "revolutionary and nationalist" military junta overthrew the government, remaining in power until 1979, when elections were held under a new Constitution. Jaime Roldós Aguilera was elected President, governing until May 24, 1981, when he died in a plane crash. By 1982, the government of Osvaldo Hurtado faced an economic crisis, characterized by high inflation, budget deficits, a falling currency, mounting debt service, and uncompetitive industries, leading to chronic government instability.

Many years of mismanagement, starting with the mishandling of the country's debt during the 1970s military regime, had left the country essentially ungovernable. Since the mid 1990s, the government of Ecuador has been characterized by a weak executive branch that struggles to appease the ruling classes represented in the legislative and judiciary. The three democratically elected presidents during the period 1996-2006 all failed to finish their terms.

The emergence of the indigenous population (approximately 25 percent) as an active constituency has added to the democratic volatility of the country in recent years. The population have been motivated by government failures to deliver on promises of land reform, lower unemployment and provision of social services, and historical exploitation by the land-holding elite.

Their movement, along with the continuing destabilizing efforts by both the Elite and Leftist movements, have led to a deterioration of the executive office. The populace and the other branches of government give the president very little political capital, as illustrated by the most recent ouster of a president. In April 2005, Ecuador's congress ousted President Lucio Gutiérrez.

The vice-president, Alfredo Palacio, took his place and remained in office until the presidential election of 2006, which did not produce a conclusive winner until a runoff election on 26 November

Geography Location: Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Geographic coordinates: 2 00 S, 77 30 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 283,560 sq km
land: 276,840 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Nevada
Land boundaries: total: 2,010 km
border countries: Colombia 590 km, Peru 1,420 km
Coastline: 2,237 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 100 nm from 2,500 meter isobath
Climate: tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Terrain: coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 4.81%
other: 89.48% (2005)
Irrigated land: 8,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 432 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 16.98 cu km/yr (12%/5%/82%)
per capita: 1,283 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Environment - international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world

The constitution provides for concurrent four-year terms for the president, vice president, and members of Congress. Presidents may be re-elected after an intervening term, while legislators may be re-elected immediately.

The executive branch includes 25 ministries. Provincial governors and councilors (mayors, aldermen, and parish boards) are directly elected. Congress meets throughout the year except for recesses in July and December. There are 69 seven-member congressional committees. Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Congress for indefinite terms.

On September 30, 2007 Ecuador elected a constituent assembly, dominated by President Rafael Correa's PAIS Alliance, charged with rewriting the Constitution of Ecuador.

Ecuador has often placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches to international issues. Ecuador is a member of the United Nations (and most of its specialized agencies) and a member of many regional groups, including the Rio Group, the Latin American Economic System, the Latin American Energy Organization, the Latin American Integration Association, and The Andean Pact.

People Population: 13,755,680 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 32.6% (male 2,282,319/female 2,196,685)
15-64 years: 62.3% (male 4,271,848/female 4,301,149)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 330,302/female 373,377) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 23.9 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 24.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.554% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 21.91 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 4.21 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.039 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.993 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.885 male(s)/female
total population: 1.002 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 22.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.62 years
male: 73.74 years
female: 79.63 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.63 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 21,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,700 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Languages: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92.3%
female: 89.7% (2001 census)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Quito
geographic coordinates: 0 13 S, 78 30 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 24 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Santa Elena, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe
Independence: 24 May 1822 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)
Constitution: 10 August 1998
Legal system: based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18-65, optional for other eligible voters
Executive branch: chief of state: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 15 January 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 15 January 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 15 October 2006 with a runoff election on 26 November 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: Rafael CORREA Delgado elected president; percent of vote - Rafael CORREA Delgado 56.7%; Alvaro NOBOA 43.3%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (100 seats; members are elected through a party-list proportional representation system to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 15 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRIAN 28; PSP 24; PSC 13; ID 7; PRE 6; MUPP-NP 6; RED 5; UDC 5; other 6; note - defections by members of National Congress are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties; as of 29 November 2007, Congress is on indefinite recess while a Constituent Assembly is convened
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (according to the Constitution, new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court; in December 2004, however, Congress successfully replaced the entire court via a simple-majority resolution)
Political parties and leaders: Alianza PAIS Movement [Rafael Vicente CORREA Delgado]; Christian Democratic Union or UDC [Diego ORDONEZ Guerrero]; Democratic Left or ID [Andres PAEZ Benalcazar]; Ethical and Democratic Network or RED [Leon ROLDOS]; Institutional Renewal and National Action Party or PRIAN [Alvaro NOBOA]; Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement - New Country or MUPP-NP [Jorge GUAMAN]; Patriotic Society Party or PSP [Lucio GUTIERREZ Borbua]; Popular Democratic Movement or MPD [Ciro GUZMAN Aldaz]; Roldosist Party or PRE [Abdala BUCARAM Ortiz, director]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Pascual DEL CIOPPO]; Socialist Party - Broad Front or PS-FA [Gustavo AYALA Cruz]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Marlon SANTI, president]; Coordinator of Social Movements or CMS [F. Napoleon SANTOS]; Federation of Indigenous Evangelists of Ecuador or FEINE [Marco MURILLO, president]; National Federation of Indigenous Afro-Ecuatorianos and Peasants or FENOCIN [Pedro DE LA CRUZ, president]
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Luis Benigno GALLEGOS Chiriboga
chancery: 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200
FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Jersey City (New Jersey), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Linda L. JEWELL
embassy: Avenida 12 de Octubre y Avenida Patria, Quito
mailing address: APO AA 34039
telephone: [593] (2) 256-2890
FAX: [593] (2) 250-2052
consulate(s) general: Guayaquil
Flag description: three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; similar to the flag of Colombia, which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms

Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by its mestizo majority and, like their ancestry, is a mixture of European and Amerindian influences infused with African elements inherited from enslaved ancestors. Ecuador's indigenous communities are integrated into that mainstream culture to varying degrees, but some may also practice their own autochthonous cultures, particularly the more remote indigenous communities of the Amazon basin.

The Panama hat is of Ecuadorean origin, and is known there as "Sombrero de paja toquilla", or a Jipijapa. It is made principally in Montecristi (Pile, Pampas, Cruces) in the Province of Manabi. Its manufacture (particularly that of the Montecristi superfino) is considered a great craft.

Notable people born in Ecuador include painters Tábara, Guayasamín, Kingman, Rendón, Arauz, Constanté, Viteri, Molinari, Maldonado, Gutierrez, Endara Crow, Villacís, Egas, Villafuerte and Faini; animator Mike Judge; poet and statesman José Joaquín de Olmedo y Maruri, scholar Benjamín Urrutia, and tennis player Pancho Segura.


The most popular sport in Ecuador, as in most South American countries, is soccer (fútbol/football). Its best known professional teams include Barcelona S.C. and C.S. Emelec, from Guayaquil, Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, Deportivo Quito and El Nacional (the Ecuadorean Armed Forces team) from Quito, Olmedo from Riobamba, and Deportivo Cuenca, from Cuenca.

The matches of the Ecuador national football team are the most watched sports events in the country. In June 2007, FIFA adopted a resolution prohibiting international soccer games at or higher than 2,500 meters above sea level. Rafael Correa, and his presidential counterparts in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, issued a joint letter of protest against this ruling.[5] Ecuador qualified for the final rounds of both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. Ecuador finished ahead of Poland and Costa Rica to come in second to Germany in Group A in the 2006 World Cup. Futsal, often referred to as índor, is particularly popular for mass participation.

There is considerable interest in tennis in the middle and upper classes in Ecuadorean society, and several Ecuadorean professional players have attained considerable international fame, including Francisco Segura and Andrés Gómez. Basketball also has a high profile, while Ecuador's specialties include Ecuavolley, a three-person variation of volleyball. Bullfighting is practiced at a professional level in Quito, during the annual festivities that commemorate the Spanish founding of the city. Bullfighting is found in smaller towns, notably El Chaco (east of Quito).

Ecuador obtained its first Olympic gold medal in Atlanta's 1996 Olympic Games, through Jefferson Pérez, on the 20 km race-walk. There is flourishing activity in nontraditional sports such as mountain biking, motorbiking, surfing, and paintball. Since 2005, Ecuador has held the Guayaquil Marathon, which is an international foot race.

Some costal resorts, particularly Montañita and Ayampe, have been developed as surfing centres. Ecuador also hosted the 2007 Youth World Championship for Rock Climbing, held in Ibarra, becoming the first country outside of Europe or Asia to host the event..[6]


The food in Ecuador is diverse, varying with altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef, and “cuy” (guinea pig) are popular in the mountain regions and are served with a variety of grains (especially rice and corn) or potatoes. A popular street food in mountain regions of Ecuador consists of potatoes served with roasted pig (hornado). Fanesca, a fish soup including several types of bean, is often eaten during Lent and Easter. During the week before the conmemoration of the deceased or "día de los muertos", the fruit beverage "Colada Morada" is typical, accompanied by "Guaguas de Pan", which is stuffed bread shaped like children.

The food is somewhat different in the southern mountain area, featuring typical Loja food such as "repe", a soup prepared with green bananas; "cecina", roasted pork; and "miel con quesillo" or "cuajada" as dessert.

A wide variety of fresh fruit is available, particularly at lower altitudes, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of bananas, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.

Seafood is popular at the coast, where prawns, shrimp and lobster are key parts of the diet. Plantain- and peanut-based dishes are the basis of most coastal meals, which are usually served in two courses. The first course is caldo soup, which may be aguado (a thin soup, usually with meat) or caldo de leche, a cream vegetable soup. The second course might include rice, a little meat or fish with a menestra (stew), and salad or vegetables. Patacones are popular side dishes with coastal meals.

Some of the typical dishes in the coastal region are: ceviche, pan de almidón, corviche, guatita, encebollado and empanadas; in the mountain region: hornado, fritada, humitas, tamales, llapingachos, lomo saltado, and churrasco.

In the rainforest, a dietary staple is the yuca, elsewhere called cassava. The starchy root is peeled and boiled, fried, or used in a variety of other dishes. Many fruits are available in this region, including bananas, tree grapes, and peach palms.

Aguardiente, a sugar cane-based spirit, is probably the most popular national alcohol. Drinkable yogurt, available in many fruit flavors, is extremely popular and is often consumed with pan de yuca, which is a light bread filled with cheese and eaten warm.


There are many contemporary Ecuadorean writers, including the novelist Jorge Enrique Adoum; the poet Jorge Cierra Andrade; the essayist Benjamín Carrión; the poet Fanny Carrión de Fierro; the novelist Enrique Gil Gilbert; the novelist Jorge Icaza (author of the novel Huasipungo, translated to many languages); the short story author Pablo Palacio; the novelist Alicia Yanez Cossio; the prominent author and essayist, Juan Montalvo, and U.S.-based, half Ecuadorean poet Emanuel Xavier.

Ecuador has produced many world renowned master painters including: Oswaldo Guayasamín, Camilo Egas and Eduardo Kingman from the Indiginist Movement; and Manuel Rendon, Enrique Tábara, Aníbal Villacís and Estuardo Maldonado from the Informalist Movement.

The Waorani tribe of Ecuador is portrayed in the 2006 theatrical release of The End of the Spear, the story of five missionaries speared to death, as told through the eyes of Christian movie makers.
The 2006 film Qué Tan Lejos, written and directed by Tania Hermida, takes place in the rural sierras and Pacific coast of southern Ecuador. A workers' strike delays a bus from Quito to Cuenca and the story unfolds as two young women decide to complete the journey on their own, hitchhiking the rest of the way. Along the way they meet interesting characters who help them reevaluate the purpose of their journey. The movie contains beautiful scenic shots and Ecuadorean humor that sometimes gets lost in translation.
The 2005 film Crónicas, written and directed by Ecuadorean Sebastián Cordero and starring John Leguizamo in his Spanish-language debut, is set and filmed entirely in Ecuador.
Although set in Colombia, the 2004 film Maria Full of Grace was partially shot in Ecuador.
The 2003 film The Dancer Upstairs, directed by John Malkovich and starring Javier Bardem, was filmed in Ecuador.
Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2002), directed by Jim Hanon, is a documentary about five missionaries killed by the Huaorani Indians in the 1950s. He recycles the story in the 2006 Hollywood production The End of the Spear. Most of this film was shot in Panama.
The film Proof of Life (2000), starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, was filmed in Ecuador, although the story takes place in a fictitious South American country named Tecala. The guerrilla movement depicted in the film is reminiscent of Peru's Shining Path or Colombia's FARC.
Ratas, Ratones, Rateros (1999), written and directed by Sebastián Cordero, relates the story of an 18-year-old quiteño whose cousin, a thief from Ecuador's coastal city Guayaquil, embroils all those around him in his affairs. The film has been accused by several critics of painting an extremely distorted contrast between the coast (Guayaquil) and the highlands (Quito), which stems from the ever-present feelings of regionalism.[citation needed]
Entre Marx y una Mujer Desnuda (Between Marx and a Nude Woman, 1995), by Ecuadorean Camilo Luzuriaga, provides a window into the life of young Ecuadorean leftists living in a country plagued by the remnants of feudal systems and coup d'etats. It is based on a novel by Jorge Enrique Adoum.
The 1991 film Sensaciones was shot in Ecuador and directed by Ecuadorean siblings Juan Esteban Cordero and Viviana Cordero. Viviana Cordero was subsequently involved in the production of Ratas, Ratones, y Rateros (see above) and later produced Un Titán en el Ring (2002).
The 1980s film Vibes, starring Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum, was shot in Ecuador. Various Andean cities served as a backdrop for the film.

In addition to film, there are numerous books and novels based on Ecuador, including the science fiction novel by Rod Glenn, The King of America, and the science fiction novel Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut.

Economy Economy - overview: Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. In 1999/2000, Ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, with GDP contracted by more than 6%, with a significant increase in poverty. The banking system also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in the years that followed, helped by high oil prices, remittances, and increased non-traditional exports. From 2002-2006 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. The poverty rate declined but remained high at 38% in 2006. In 2006 the government of Alfredo PALACIO (2005-07) seized the assets of Occidental Petroleum for alleged contract violations and imposed a windfall revenue tax on foreign oil companies, leading to the suspension of free trade negotiations with the US. These measures, combined with chronic underinvestment in the state oil company, Petroecuador, led to a drop in petroleum production in 2007. PALACIO's successor, Rafael CORREA, raised the specter of debt default - but Ecuador has paid its debt on time. He also decreed a higher windfall revenue tax on private oil companies, then sought to renegotiate their contracts to overcome the debilitating effect of the tax. This generated economic uncertainty; private investment has dropped and economic growth has slowed significantly.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $98.28 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $44.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $7,100 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 10%
industry: 35%
services: 54% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 4.55 million (urban) (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 8%
industry: 24%
services: 68% (2001)
Unemployment rate: 9.8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 38.3% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 35%
note: data for urban households only (October 2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 46
note: data are for urban households (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.3% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 26.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $13.1 billion
expenditures: planned $11.3 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 30.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
Industries: petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals
Industrial production growth rate: 1.4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 12.94 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 81%
hydro: 19%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 8.855 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 16 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 1.723 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 538,000 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 162,000 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - exports: 420,600 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports: 44,680 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 4.63 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 249.4 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 249.4 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 9.369 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$600 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $13.3 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, hemp, wood, fish
Exports - partners: US 53.6%, Peru 8.2%, Colombia 5.6%, Chile 4.4% (2006)
Imports: $13 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: industrial materials, fuels and lubricants, nondurable consumer goods
Imports - partners: US 23.1%, Colombia 13.3%, Brazil 7.3%, Panama 4% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $209.5 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $3.618 billion (30 November 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $17.56 billion (31 October 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $14.67 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $8.442 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $4.04 billion (2006)
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: 1 the US dollar is used; the sucre was eliminated in 2000
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 1.754 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 8.485 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: generally elementary but being expanded
domestic: fixed-line services provided by three state-owned enterprises; plans to transfer the state-owned operators to private ownership have repeatedly failed; fixed-line density stands at about 13 per 100 persons; mobile cellular use has surged and has a subscribership of nearly 65 per 100 persons
international: country code - 593; landing point for the PAN-AM submarine telecommunications cable that provides links to the west coast of South America, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and extending onward to Aruba and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 392, FM 35, shortwave 29 (2001)
Radios: 5 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations: 7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2000)
Televisions: 2.5 million (2001)
Internet country code: .ec
Internet hosts: 28,420 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 31 (2001)
Internet users: 1.549 million (2006)
Transportation Airports: 406 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 104
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 26
under 914 m: 54 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 302
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 268 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)
Pipelines: extra heavy crude oil 578 km; gas 71 km; oil 1,389 km; refined products 1,185 km (2007)
Railways: total: 966 km
narrow gauge: 966 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 43,197 km
paved: 6,467 km
unpaved: 36,730 km (2004)
Waterways: 1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2006)
Merchant marine: total: 33 ships (1000 GRT or over) 190,931 GRT/306,280 DWT
by type: chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger 8, petroleum tanker 22, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Philippines 1, US 1)
registered in other countries: 3 (China 1, Panama 2) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, Manta, Puerto Bolivar
Military Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry, Naval Aviation, Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE) (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 20 years of age for selective conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2006)
Manpower available for military service: males age 20-49: 2,792,770
females age 20-49: 2,849,519 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 20-49: 2,338,428
females age 20-49: 2,380,327 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 133,922
females age 20-49: 129,758 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.8% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia penetrate across Ecuador's shared border, which thousands of Colombians also cross to escape the violence in their home country
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 9,851 (Colombia); note - UNHCR estimates as many as 250,000 Columbians are seeking asylum in Ecuador, many of whom do not register as refugees for fear of deportation (2006)
Illicit drugs: significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru, with over half of the US-bound cocaine passing through Ecuadorian Pacific waters; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; attractive location for cash-placement by drug traffickers laundering money because of dollarization and weak anti-money-laundering regime; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents