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South America :: Ecuador
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  • Introduction :: ECUADOR

  • 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 30 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period was marred by political instability. Protests in Quito contributed to the mid-term ouster of three of Ecuador's last four democratically elected presidents. In late 2008, voters approved a new constitution, Ecuador's 20th since gaining independence. General elections were held in February 2013, and voters re-elected President Rafael CORREA.
  • Geography :: ECUADOR

  • Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
    2 00 S, 77 30 W
    South America
    total: 283,561 sq km
    land: 276,841 sq km
    water: 6,720 sq km
    note: includes Galapagos Islands
    slightly smaller than Nevada
    total: 2,237 km
    border countries (2): Colombia 708 km, Peru 1,529 km
    2,237 km
    territorial sea: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 100 nm from 2,500-m isobath
    tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
    coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
    note: due to the fact that the earth is not a perfect sphere and has an equatorial bulge, the highest point on the planet furthest from its center is Mount Chimborazo not Mount Everest, which is merely the highest peak above sea level
    petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
    agricultural land: 29.7%
    arable land 4.7%; permanent crops 5.6%; permanent pasture 19.4%
    forest: 38.9%
    other: 31.4% (2011 est.)
    8,534 sq km (2003)
    424.4 cu km (2011)
    total: 9.92 cu km/yr (13%/6%/81%)
    per capita: 716.1 cu m/yr (2005)
    frequent earthquakes; landslides; volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
    volcanism: volcanic activity concentrated along the Andes Mountains; Sangay (elev. 5,230 m), which erupted in 2010, is mainland Ecuador's most active volcano; other historically active volcanoes in the Andes include Antisana, Cayambe, Chacana, Cotopaxi, Guagua Pichincha, Reventador, Sumaco, and Tungurahua; Fernandina (elev. 1,476 m), a shield volcano that last erupted in 2009, is the most active of the many Galapagos volcanoes; other historically active Galapagos volcanoes include Wolf, Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul, Pinta, Marchena, and Santiago
    deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
    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
    Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world
  • People and Society :: ECUADOR

  • noun: Ecuadorian(s)
    adjective: Ecuadorian
    mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 71.9%, Montubio 7.4%, Amerindian 7%, white 6.1%, Afroecuadorian 4.3%, mulato 1.9%, black 1%, other 0.4% (2010 est.)
    Spanish (Castillian) 93% (official), Quechua 4.1%, other indigenous 0.7%, foreign 2.2%
    note: (Quechua and Shuar are official languages of intercultural relations; other indigenous languages are in official use by indigenous peoples in the areas they inhabit) (2010 est.)
    Roman Catholic 74%, Evangelical 10.4%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 6.4% (includes Mormon Buddhist, Jewish, Spiritualist, Muslim, Hindu, indigenous religions, African American religions, Pentecostal), atheist 7.9%, agnostic 0.1%
    note: data represents persons at least 16 years of age from five Ecuadoran cities (2012 est.)
    Ecuador's high poverty and income inequality most affect indigenous, mixed race, and rural populations. The government has increased its social spending to ameliorate these problems, but critics question the efficiency and implementation of its national development plan. Nevertheless, the conditional cash transfer program, which requires participants' children to attend school and have medical check-ups, has helped improve educational attainment and healthcare among poor children. Ecuador is stalled at above replacement level fertility and the population most likely will keep growing rather than stabilize.
    An estimated 2 to 3 million Ecuadorians live abroad, but increased unemployment in key receiving countries - Spain, the United States, and Italy - is slowing emigration and increasing the likelihood of returnees to Ecuador. The first large-scale emigration of Ecuadorians occurred between 1980 and 2000, when an economic crisis drove Ecuadorians from southern provinces to New York City, where they had trade contacts. A second, nationwide wave of emigration in the late 1990s was caused by another economic downturn, political instability, and a currency crisis. Spain was the logical destination because of its shared language and the wide availability of low-skilled, informal jobs at a time when increased border surveillance made illegal migration to the US difficult. Ecuador has a small but growing immigrant population and is Latin America's top recipient of refugees; 98% are neighboring Colombians fleeing violence in their country.
    15,654,411 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 28.5% (male 2,275,448/female 2,184,706)
    15-24 years: 18.6% (male 1,478,184/female 1,439,288)
    25-54 years: 38.9% (male 2,968,757/female 3,124,938)
    55-64 years: 7.1% (male 544,097/female 562,326)
    65 years and over: 6.9% (male 514,549/female 562,118) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 56.9%
    youth dependency ratio: 46.5%
    elderly dependency ratio: 10.5%
    potential support ratio: 9.6% (2014 est.)
    total: 26.7 years
    male: 26 years
    female: 27.3 years (2014 est.)
    1.37% (2014 est.)
    18.87 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    5.04 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -0.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 63.5% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    Guayaquil 2.664 million; QUITO (capital) 1.699 million (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    87 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 17.93 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 21.11 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 14.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 76.36 years
    male: 73.4 years
    female: 79.46 years (2014 est.)
    2.29 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    7.5% of GDP (2013)
    1.72 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
    1.6 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    urban: 91.6% of population
    rural: 75.2% of population
    total: 86.4% of population
    urban: 8.4% of population
    rural: 24.8% of population
    total: 13.6% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 86.5% of population
    rural: 75.9% of population
    total: 83.1% of population
    urban: 13.5% of population
    rural: 24.1% of population
    total: 16.9% of population (2012 est.)
    0.41% (2013 est.)
    37,500 (2013 est.)
    1,600 (2013 est.)
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2013)
    18% (2014)
    6.4% (2013)
    4.4% of GDP (2012)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 94.5%
    male: 95.4%
    female: 93.5% (2015 est.)
    total: 14 years
    male: 14 years
    female: 14 years (2012)
    total number: 227,599
    percentage: 8% (2008 est.)
    total: 11.1%
    male: 9%
    female: 15% (2011 est.)
  • Government :: ECUADOR

  • conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
    conventional short form: Ecuador
    local long form: Republica del Ecuador
    local short form: Ecuador
    note: the country's position on the globe, straddling the equator, accounts for its name
    name: Quito
    geographic coordinates: 0 13 S, 78 30 W
    time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    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
    24 May 1822 (from Spain)
    Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)
    many previous; latest approved 20 October 2008; amended 2011 (2011)
    civil law based on the Chilean civil code with modifications; traditional law in indigenous communities
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18-65 years of age, universal and compulsory; 16-18, over 65, and other eligible voters, voluntary
    chief of state: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Jorge GLAS Espinel (since 24 May 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Jorge GLAS Espinel (since 24 May 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    elections: the president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term and can be re-elected for another consecutive term; election last held on 17 February 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
    election results: President Rafael CORREA Delgado reelected president; percent of vote - Rafael CORREA Delgado 57.2%, Guillermo LASSO 22.7%, Lucio GUTIERREZ 6.8%, Mauricio RODAS 3.9%, other 9.4%
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (137 seats; 116 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 15 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote, and 6 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies for Ecuadorians living abroad by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 17 February 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAIS 100, CREO 11, PSC 6, AVANZA 5, MUPP 5, PSP 5, other 5; note - defections by members of National Assembly are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties
    highest court(s): National Court of Justice or Corte Nacional de Justicia (consists of 21 judges including the chief justice and organized into 5 specialized chambers); Constitutional Court or Corte Constitucional (consists of 9 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: justices of National Court of Justice elected by the Judiciary Council, a 9-member independent body of law professionals; judges elected for 9-year, non-renewable terms, with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the executive, legislative, and Citizen Participation branches of government; judges appointed for 9-year non-renewable terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years
    subordinate courts: Fiscal Tribunal; Election Dispute Settlement Courts, provincial courts (one for each province); cantonal courts
    Alianza PAIS movement [Rafael Vicente CORREA Delgado]
    Avanza Party or AVANZA [Ramiro GONZALEZ]
    Creating Opportunities Movement or CREO [Guillermo LASSO]
    Institutional Renewal and National Action Party or PRIAN [Alvaro NOBOA]
    Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement or MUPP [Rafael ANTUNI]
    Patriotic Society Party or PSP [Lucio GUTIERREZ Borbua]
    Popular Democracy Movement or MPD [Luis VILLACIS]
    Roldosist Party or PRE
    Social Christian Party or PSC [Pascual DEL CIOPPO]
    Socialist Party [Fabian SOLANO]
    Society United for More Action or SUMA [Mauricio RODAS]
    Warrior's Spirit Movement [Jaime NEBOT]
    Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Humberto CHOLANGO]
    Federation of Indigenous Evangelists of Ecuador or FEINE [Manuel CHUGCHILAN, president]
    National Federation of Indigenous Afro-Ecuatorianos and Peasants or FENOCIN
    National Teacher's Union or UNE [Mariana PALLASCO]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Jose Francisco BORJA Cevallos (since 18 May 2015)
    chancery: 2535 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200
    FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New Haven (CT), New Orleans, New York, Newark (NJ), Phoenix, San Francisco
    consulate(s): Boston, Dallas, Denver (CO), San Juan (Puerto Rico)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Adam E. NAMM (since 26 April 2012)
    embassy: Avenida Avigiras E12-170 y Avenida Eloy Alfaro, Quito
    mailing address: Avenida Guayacanes N52-205 y Avenida Avigiras
    telephone: [593] (2) 398-5000
    FAX: [593] (2) 398-5100
    consulate(s) general: Guayaquil
    three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Columbia, the South American republic that broke up in 1830; the yellow color represents sunshine, grain, and mineral wealth, blue the sky, sea, and rivers, and red the blood of patriots spilled in the struggle for freedom and justice
    note: similar to the flag of Colombia, which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms
    Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red
    name: "Salve, Oh Patria!" (We Salute You Our Homeland)
    lyrics/music: Juan Leon MERA/Antonio NEUMANE
    note: adopted 1948; Juan Leon MERA wrote the lyrics in 1865; only the chorus and second verse are sung
  • Economy :: ECUADOR

  • Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and approximately 25% of public sector revenues in recent years. In 1999/2000, Ecuador's economy suffered from a banking crisis, with GDP contracting by 5.3% and poverty increasing significantly. In March 2000, the 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 2002-06 the economy grew an average of 4.3% per year, the highest five-year average in 25 years. After moderate growth in 2007, the economy reached a growth rate of 6.4% in 2008, buoyed by high global petroleum prices and increased public sector investment. President Rafael CORREA Delgado, who took office in January 2007, defaulted in December 2008 on Ecuador's sovereign debt, which, with a total face value of approximately US$3.2 billion, represented about 30% of Ecuador's public external debt. In May 2009, Ecuador bought back 91% of its "defaulted" bonds via an international reverse auction. Economic policies under the CORREA administration - for example, an announcement in late 2009 of its intention to terminate 13 bilateral investment treaties, including one with the United States - have generated economic uncertainty and discouraged private investment. China has become Ecuador's largest foreign lender since Quito defaulted in 2008, allowing the government to maintain a high rate of social spending; Ecuador contracted with the Chinese government for more than $9.9 billion in forward oil sales, project financing, and budget support loans as of December 2013. Foreign investment levels in Ecuador continue to be the lowest in the region as a result of an unstable regulatory environment, weak rule of law, and the crowding-out effect of public investments. In 2014, oil output increased slightly and production is expected to remain steady in 2015, although prices will likely remain lower than in previous years. Faced with a 2013 trade deficit of $1.1 billion, Ecuador erected technical barriers to trade in December 2013, causing tensions with its largest trading partners. Ecuador also decriminalized intellectual property rights violations in February 2014. In March, 2015 Ecuador imposed tariff surcharges from 5%-45% on an estimated 32% of imports for 15 months. Furthermore, the CORREA administration is considering de-dollarizing the economy to allow the government to use monetary policy tools to stabilize growth.
    $182 billion (2014 est.)
    $175 billion (2013 est.)
    $167.4 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $100.5 billion (2014 est.)
    4% (2014 est.)
    4.5% (2013 est.)
    5.1% (2012 est.)
    $11,400 (2014 est.)
    $11,100 (2013 est.)
    $10,800 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 124
    27.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    27.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
    27.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 60.2%
    government consumption: 14.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 27.4%
    investment in inventories: 0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 29.9%
    imports of goods and services: -31.6%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 6%
    industry: 34.4%
    services: 59.6% (2014 est.)
    bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; fish, shrimp; balsa wood
    petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals
    note: excludes oil refining (2014 est.)
    7.214 million (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 27.8%
    industry: 17.8%
    services: 54.4% (2012 est.)
    5% (2014 est.)
    4.7% (2013 est.)
    25.6% (December 2013 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.4%
    highest 10%: 35.4%
    note: data for urban households only (2012 est.)
    48.5 (December 2013)
    50.5 (December 2010)
    note: data are for urban households
    revenues: $39.5 billion
    expenditures: $44.7 billion (2014 est.)
    39.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -5.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    30% of GDP (2014 est.)
    23.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
    calendar year
    3.9% (2014 est.)
    2.7% (2013 est.)
    8.17% (31 December 2011)
    8.68% (31 December 2010)
    8.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    8.17% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $10.81 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $9.274 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $34.53 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $28.44 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $34.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $28.01 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $5.911 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $5.779 billion (31 December 2011)
    $5.263 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $613.4 million (2014 est.)
    $-1.29 billion (2013 est.)
    $27.33 billion (2014 est.)
    $25.69 billion (2013 est.)
    petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, wood, fish
    US 44.6%, Chile 9.9%, Peru 7.5% (2013)
    $26.4 billion (2014 est.)
    $26.33 billion (2013 est.)
    industrial materials, fuels and lubricants, nondurable consumer goods
    US 29.2%, China 12.9%, Colombia 8.5%, Panama 6.8%, Peru 4.1% (2013)
    $6.811 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $4.352 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $21.74 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $19.23 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $14.28 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $13.68 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $6.33 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $6.33 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    the US dollar became Ecuador's currency in 2001
  • Energy :: ECUADOR

  • 22.85 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    19.38 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    12 million kWh (2012 est.)
    238 million kWh (2012 est.)
    5.336 million kW (2011 est.)
    56% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    42% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    1.9% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    527,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    413,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    154,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    8.24 billion bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    207,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    255,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    28,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    135,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    517 million cu m (2012 est.)
    517 million cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    6.003 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    37.23 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: ECUADOR

  • 2.31 million (2012)
    16.457 million (2012)
    general assessment: elementary fixed-line service, but increasingly sophisticated mobile-cellular network
    domestic: fixed-line services provided by multiple telecommunications operators; fixed-line teledensity stands at about 15 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular use has surged and subscribership has reached 100 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 593; landing points for the PAN-AM and South America-1 submarine cables that provide 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) (2011)
    Ecuador has multiple TV networks and many local channels, as well as more than 300 radio stations; many TV and radio stations are privately owned; the government owns or controls 5 national TV stations and multiple radio stations; broadcast media required by law to give the government free air time to broadcast programs produced by the state (2007)
    AM 392, FM 35, shortwave 29 (2001)
    7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2000)
    170,538 (2012)
    3.352 million (2009)
  • Transportation :: ECUADOR

  • 432 (2013)
    total: 104
    over 3,047 m: 4
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
    914 to 1,523 m: 26
    under 914 m: 51 (2013)
    total: 328
    914 to 1,523 m: 37
    under 914 m:
    291 (2013)
    2 (2013)
    extra heavy crude 527 km; gas 71 km; oil 2,131 km; refined products 1,526 km (2013)
    total: 965 km
    narrow gauge: 965 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)
    total: 43,670 km
    paved: 6,472 km
    unpaved: 37,198 km (2007)
    1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2012)
    total: 44
    by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger 9, petroleum tanker 28, refrigerated cargo 1
    registered in other countries: 4 (Panama 3, Peru 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Esmeraldas, Manta, Puerto Bolivar
    river port(s): Guayaquil (Guayas)
    container port(s) (TEUs): Guayaquil (1,405,762)
  • Military :: ECUADOR

  • Ecuadorian Armed Forces: Ecuadorian Land Force (Fuerza Terrestre Ecuatoriana, FTE), Ecuadorian Navy (Fuerza Naval del Ecuador (FNE), includes Naval Infantry, Naval Aviation, Coast Guard), Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE) (2012)
    18 years of age for selective conscript military service; conscription has been suspended; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; Air Force 18-22 years of age, Ecadorian birth requirement; 1-year service obligation (2012)
    males age 16-49: 3,728,906
    females age 16-49: 3,844,918 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 2,834,213
    females age 16-49: 3,269,535 (2010 est.)
    male: 152,593
    female: 147,143 (2010 est.)
    2.83% of GDP (2012)
    3.2% of GDP (2011)
    2.83% of GDP (2010)
  • Transnational Issues :: ECUADOR

  • 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 (country of origin): 68,344 (Colombia) (2014)
    significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru, with much 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 (2008)