Fired Jounalist discusses strange connection between volcanoes and political crises in Ecuador

Posted on September 1, 2015 • Filed under: Ecuador, Politics

MARTIN PALLARESSEPT. 1, 2015 / Opinion published in New York Times

There is a strange connection between volcanoes and political crises in Ecuador: They seem to erupt together.

According to Pedro Cieza de León, who chronicled the Spanish conquistadors’ arrival in the Incan Empire, when Pedro de Alvarado entered the land that is now Ecuador in 1534, the Cotopaxi volcano erupted, sending massive gusts of fire and ash into the air, practically reducing the soldiers themselves to dust. As the story goes, the local indigenous people perceived this as a sign of nature’s outrage. In October 1999, the Pichincha volcano, which had terrorized the residents of Quito back in 1660, once again exhaled a billowing column of steam and ash upon Quito precisely during one of the most traumatic political and economic crises in Ecuador’s history. Months later, in January 2000, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadoreans took to the streets and forced the resignation of president Jamil Mahuad, who had adopted the dollar as Ecuador’s official currency after a banking crisis led to the closure of 24 banks, the immobilization of Ecuadoreans’ savings accounts, and the collapse of the sucre, until then the national currency. Read Full Opinion


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