As we celebrate our relationship with our esteemed friends from Ecuador, our hearts go out to the people as they recover from this horrible 7.8 earthquake that has caused so much death and destruction, particularly in the northern coastal areas.
Wednesday evening, April 13, 2016, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was in Chicago to view the Chicago Premier of Peter Greenberg’s new travel documentary, “Ecuador: The Royal Tour.” The previous evening, the film premiered in New York City. The film can be seen on PBS. We had a chance to meet President Correa at the showing at Venue SIX10. Along with the President, were several of his cabinet Ministers.
The following day, Thursday April 14, the Great Cities Institute hosted the Republic of Ecuador’s Minister of International Trade, Diego Aulestia, for our continuing conversation with the Minister on the connection between international trade and community development. Great Cities Institute presented its preliminary research report to him, titled: “Exports, Policy Choices, and Economic Growth for Ecuador: Achieving the Plan Nacional del Buen Vivir” (PNBV). The report presented policy options for Ecuador’s goals for “Strategic Insertion in the World” and for establishing a solidarity-based and sustainable socio-economic system. Also present were representatives from Trade Office of Pro Ecuador in Chicago, Borys A. Mejia, Director, and María Belén Loor Trade & Investment Senior Analyst. Joining us in the conversation was Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia.
If you read Ecuador’s National Plan for Good Living, you will find a remarkable statement of values and strategies, beginning with the notion that good living doesn’t just happen but must be planned. “Good Living is the style of life that enables happiness and the permanency of cultural and environmental diversity; it is harmony, equality, equity and solidarity. It is not the quest for opulence or infinite economic growth…”
And though implementing these ideals may be easier said than done, it is indeed, at the very least, an interesting endeavor to protect the cultural resources of the country while boosting its economic strength.