“Kathleen, in response to the reader who wrote in recently to ask why we don’t tell readers about the U.S. State Department’s warnings related to travel in Ecuador, I’d have to say, if I listened to the State Department, I’d never go anywhere outside the United States…and that’s only because they don’t rate the United States.
“The State Department tends to paint the entire country with the same brush.
“Also, we have to keep the numbers in perspective. The crimes reported by U.S. citizens in Ecuador are in fact on the rise, because the number of U.S. citizens living there has gone up by orders of magnitude. So, statistically, the number of American victims goes up, too. In Cuenca, for example, the number of expats has gone from around 20 to over 2,000 since 2006…a 1,000% increase.
“And, as you’ve pointed out already, I don’t find Americans to be singled out. Anyone who appears to have money is at greater risk than those who appear poor. For example, the ‘kidnap express’ mentioned on the State Department website is real, but the vast majority of victims are well-off Ecuadorians, usually housewives out shopping in Guayaquil.
“Finally, the crime stats are compiled from broad and diverse areas, while the areas where expats live tend to be safer than the country as a whole.”
–Lee Harrison, Latin America Correspondent
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