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Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

I am very excited to have you here to commemorate the TWO HUNDRED and SIXTH anniversary of Ecuador’s first cry for independence.

This is one of the greatest dates in Ecuadorian history. That August 10th of 1809, when a group of patriots formed the first Creole governing body of Latin America and dismissed the colonial authority to proclaim, what at the time, were truly revolutionary principles—that sovereignty does not lay on any king but on the people.

That first governing body only lasted about three months. The igniters of the independence movement were imprisoned, and a year later, on August Second of 1810, they were massacred along with hundreds of citizens of Quito. But as liberator Simón Bolívar said, “the Quito massacre sparked a deathly fight against Spanish colonialism”

Following the events in Quito, Ecuador went on to harvesting more victories for the freedom of our country, such as the independence of Guayaquil in October 9th of 1820, the Cuenca rebellion on November Third of the same year, and finally, May 24th of 1822, with the Battle of Pichincha, which consolidated the independence of modern Ecuador.

Caracas, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Mexico, and Santiago de Chile followed Quito’s example.

Our independence was a historic step towards the construction of national states in Latin America. However, many tasks are still pending. The history of people is not built in one day. It is a long process that may take decades and centuries. That is why today we are in what we call: the second independence.

An independence to free our people of the bondage from poverty and inequality. I don’t mean to proselyte but it must be said that Ecuador has changed.

It has changed in many ways, from the development of new infrastructure, to the creation of a knowledge-based economy, to transforming our energy matrix to relying on clean, renewable energy, to instituting new policies and initiatives to protect our uniquely bio-diverse habitat.

We practice a true Third Way that brings balance in between the inefficient statism of the so-called real socialism and the dehumanized neoliberalism that is triggered by the quest for money and power.

Our “Good Living” philosophy has helped to position Ecuador as a development model, and has served as a catalyst for modernizing and transforming our economy and institutions, building schools, roads, housing, acquiring new telecommunications systems, new ports and airports, and other needed infrastructure that creates jobs, raises the standards of living, promotes social justice, and very importantly, prepares us to compete globally.

Between 2007 and 2015, Ecuador has doubled its GDP and raised its GDP per capita by 50 percent. Poverty has declined from 37 percent to 25 percent; and extreme poverty from 17 percent to 8 percent. Unemployment has also been reduced from 5 to 3.8 percent. And the Ginni coefficient, which measures inequality worldwide, has dropped from .0551 to .0440, which means there has been a significant narrowing of the inequality gap, with the subsequent strengthening of the Ecuadorian middle class.

We are also improving our infrastructure and modernizing Ecuador’s energy matrix, with very clear objectives to produce 94 percent of our electricity from clean renewable sources by the end of 2016.

These efforts are in line with our constitutional commitment to protect the environment and ensure that future generations can enjoy the same unmatched biodiversity our territory has to offer to the Ecuadorian people and the thousands of travellers who visit our country every year.

Ecuador has embarked on an ambitious mission by building four mega universities, which play a fundamental role in the construction of a national innovation system.

With the United States, as our most important trade partner, we share many values and principles such as democracy, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, and the permanent quest for peace for our people, among other common interests.

We look forward to maintaining an honest and direct political dialogue and to continue building our commercial ties. Over the last decade, U.S. exports to Ecuador grew 14.4 percent, and Ecuador’s exports to the U.S. increased by 20 percent.

In recent years, our country has also gladly seen a steady increase in the number of American retirees who choose to retire in Ecuador. There are thousands of American citizens who have chosen to spend their golden years in our country for its rich culture, variety of climates and wonderful landscapes, but also for its surprisingly affordable cost of living and the state of the art infrastructure we are developing.

Last year alone, two hundred and sixty thousand Americans tourist visited Ecuador.

Please allow me to say a couple words for my fellow Ecuadorians present here this evening.

Aspiro a que esta celebración del 10 de agosto de 1809 nos recuerde los valores que compartimos como país: la tolerancia, el respeto, la solidaridad. Que seamos capaces de construir la unidad nacional para salir adelante, con discrepancias desde luego, pero manejándolas con tolerancia y respeto.

Tenemos desafíos muy grandes hacia el futuro que debemos enfrentar con el espíritu de rebeldía de nuestros héroes del 10 de agosto, pero también con la visión constructiva de los valores que esa revolución cultivó: la equidad, la justicia y el respeto hacia estas nuevas naciones criollas mestizas y a todos sus habitantes.

Nuestra diversidad es nuestro mayor tesoro, Diversidad en muchos sentidos, no solo la maravillosa biodiversidad, sino la étnica, cultural y geográfica. Somos una síntesis de Sudamérica.

Debemos sentirnos orgullosos de pertenecer a este pequeño país que fue la Luz de América en las luchas independentistas y ahora es también referente internacional de una nueva manera de enfrentar los desafíos del desarrollo, la justicia social, la equidad.

Gracias, Happy Independence Day – Y QUE VIVA EL ECUADOR!


Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

El día de ayer, la Embajada de Ecuador en los Estados Unidos celebró el 206 Aniversario del Primer Grito de Independencia de la República del Ecuador. La recepción se celebró en el Salón de las Américas en la sede principal de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA).

El Embajador Francisco Borja se dirigió a los asistentes en un discurso en el que recordó la importancia que el movimiento independentista ecuatoriano tuvo en los movimientos de independencia en toda Latinoamérica. El Embajador Borja también destacó que la filosofía del Buen Vivir ha posicionado a Ecuador como modelo en materia de desarrollo inclusivo en América Latina y alrededor del mundo.

A la recepción, donde se lució la belleza de las coloridas rosas ecuatorianas donadas por ExpoFlores, asistieron diversas autoridades como el Secretario General de la OEA, Luis Almagro, quien también dirigió unas palabras a los asistentes, miembros del cuerpo diplomático, autoridades gubernamentales e invitados especiales, quienes disfrutaron de un desplieque cultural de danza y música. Los representantes diplomáticos de Estados Unidos incluyeron a Patricia Fietz, Cónsul General de Estados Unidos en Guayaquil y el Subsecretario Adjunto para Sudamérica del Departamento de Estado, Alex Lee.

Los invitados se deleitaron con los platillos del Chef Ecuatoriano Juan José Aniceto de su portafolio “Cocinas Ancestrales”, quien se lució con un menú de exquisita comida típica ecuatoriana con presentaciones de vanguardia. El menú se preparó con productos ícono de la oferta exportable del Ecuador, como el camarón donado por la Cámara Nacional de Acuacultura, reconocido internacionalmente como el mejor camarón del mundo.

Adicionalmente el menú incluyó reconocidas marcas de productos ecuatorianos entre ellos el galardonado chocolate Pacari, una línea de chocolate orgánico de alta calidad completamente hecho en Ecuador. Los invitados también saborearon deliciosos cocteles preparados con Solbeso, un licor blanco premium destilado del fruto del cacao ecuatoriano y degustaron Runa Tea, elaborado a base de plantas de Guayusa que crecen en la Amazonía Ecuatoriana.


Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Yesterday, the Embassy of Ecuador in the United States celebrated the 206th Anniversary of the First Cry of Independence of the Republic of Ecuador. The reception was held in the Hall of the Americas at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Ambassador Francisco Borja addressed the audience in a speech in which he recalled the importance of the Ecuadorian independence movement to the independence movements in Latin America. Ambassador Borja also noted that Ecuador’s philosophy of Good Living has made the country a model for development in Latin America and around the world.

The reception, adorned with colorful Ecuadorian flowers donated by Expoflores, was attended by various authorities including the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro who presented a few special remarks to commemorate Ecuador’s independence. The audience, composed of members of the diplomatic corps, government authorities and special guests enjoyed traditional music and special performances while learning about Ecuador’s culture. Diplomatic representatives of the United States included Patricia Fietz, US Consul General of Guayaquil and Deputy Assistant Secretary for South America Alex Lee.

All guests were treated to the delicious dishes prepared by Ecuadorian Chef Juan José Aniceto, who offered an exquisite menu of traditional Ecuadorian food from his research project “Cocinas Ancestrales”. The menu featured the very best of Ecuadorian export products including first class quality shrimp donated by the National Acuaculture Chamber of Ecuador.

Avant-garde Ecuadorian food was prepared with product brands including the award-winning Pacari chocolate, high- quality organic chocolate made entirely in Ecuador. Guests also tasted delicious cocktails made with Solbeso, premium white liquor distilled from the Ecuadorian cocoa fruit and Runa Tea, a beverage made with guayusa leaves from the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.


Friday, August 7th, 2015

On August 2, New York’s Ecuadorian community kicked off the commemoration of the 206th anniversary of Ecuador’s Independence. Flags, toquilla straw hats, banners and Ecuadorian soccer Jerseys, adorned Northern Boulevard in Queens, the heart of the Big Apple.

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, led the opening ceremony of the 33rd Ecuadorian parade wearing the traditional straw hat. The community of families, Ecuadorian migrants, authorities and special guests dressed in yellow, blue and red to march along Northern Boulevard from 69th Street to 86th Street, recalling the First Cry of Independence of August 10, 1809.

The Ecuadorian Ambassador to the United States, Francisco Borja, attended as one of the special guests and highlighted the contributions of Ecuadorian migrants in the United States. “The migrant is by nature a person who takes risks, who is accustomed to sacrifice and is not afraid of challenges,” said the Ambassador. “These qualities make our compatriots a community that can contribute, innovate and improve this country that is their new home.”

Oswaldo Guzmán, president of the Ecuadorian Civic Committee and main organizer of the event, said that between 60.000 to 65.000 spectators gathered at the celebration that was coordinated by the Ecuadorian Civic Committee together with various organizations and the Consulate General of New York.

Other notable figures in the parade included State Senator Jose Peralta, Senator Charles Schumer, State Assemblyman Francisco Moya, of Ecuadorian descent, and Ecuador’s Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Betty Tola. The grand marshal was lawyer Diego Benitez who is the president of the Foundation Vista Para Todos. The Ecuadorian beauty queens in attendance were Emely Matute, Queen of the Civic Committee 2015-2016, Francesca Cipriani, Miss Ecuador 2015, Carolina Baez, Queen of Quito 2014-2015 and Andrea Torres, Queen of Guayaquil 2014 -2015 who were seen on top of dozens of floats while dancing to Ecuadorian music rhythms.

To conclude the event, the attendees gathered on the 86th Street stage to sing Ecuador’s national anthem.

Other Ecuadorian Consulates are commemorating Ecuador’s national day by hosting events in their respective cities. The Houston consulate will host a reception on August 6th to exhibit Ecuadorian culture to local authorities, diplomats and the Ecuadorian community. On August 7th, the Chicago consulate will hoist the Ecuadorian flag at Delsey Plaza, also host a reception with local authorities and special guests.

The Consulates of Minneapolis, Los Angeles and New Jersey will join the celebration by holding several cultural and musical events throughout the weekend, including the big Ecuadorian Parade to be held on August 9th in the three cities.


Friday, August 7th, 2015

El pasado 2 de agosto se inició en Nueva York la celebración del 206 aniversario del Primer Grito de Independencia del Ecuador. Con banderas, sombreros de paja toquilla, pancartas y camisetas de la selección ecuatoriana de futbol, miles de personas se congregaron en el Northern Boulevard de Queens.

El alcalde de la ciudad de Nueva York, Bill de Blasio, encabezó la ceremonia de apertura del trigésimo tercer Desfile Ecuatoriano luciendo el tradicional sombrero de paja toquilla. La comunidad de familias de migrantes ecuatorianos, autoridades e invitados especiales se vistieron de amarillo, azul y rojo para desfilar de la calle 69 hasta la calle 86 del Northern Boulevard y así recordaron el Primer Grito de la Independencia del 10 de agosto de 1809.

El Embajador Ecuatoriano en los Estados Unidos, Francisco Borja, quien asistió como uno de los invitados especiales del evento, destacó la contribución de los migrantes ecuatorianos en los Estados Unidos. “El migrante por naturaleza es un persona que corre riegos, que esta acostumbrada al sacrificio y que no le teme a los desafíos”, dijo el Embajador. “Estas cualidades hacen de nuestros compatriotas una comunidad que puede contribuir, innovar y cambiar para bien el entorno en donde vive en este país que ahora es su nuevo hogar.”

Oswaldo Guzmán, presidente del Comité Cívico Ecuatoriano, principal organizador del evento, indicó que entre 60,000 a 65,000 espectadores se dieron cita en la celebración coordinada por el Comité Cívico Ecuatoriano junto con distintas organizaciones y el Consulado General de Nueva York.

El desfile también contó con la presencia del senador estatal José Peralta, el senador Charles Schumer, el asambleísta estatal de ascendencia ecuatoriana Francisco Moya y la Ministra de Inclusión Económica y social Betty Tola. El Gran Mariscal Internacional fue el licenciado Diego Benítez, Presidente de la Fundación Vista Para Todos. La Reina del Comité Cívico 2015-2016, Emely Matute, Miss Ecuador 2015, Francesca Cipriani, Reina de Quito 2014-2015, Carolina Báez, Reina de Guayaquil 2014-2015, Andrea Torres, entre otras bellezas ecuatorianas pasearon en decenas de carros alegóricos al ritmo de música ecuatoriana.

Para finalizar el evento, todos los presentes se reunieron en la tarima de la calle 86 y entonaron el himno nacional de Ecuador.

A esta celebración se suman todos los Consulados del Ecuador. En Houston se llevará a cabo una recepción y muestra de cultura ecuatoriana el día 6 de agosto, con la participación de autoridades locales, cuerpo diplomático y comunidad ecuatoriana. En Chicago, el 7 de agosto se izará la bandera ecuatoriana en el emblemático parque Daley Plaza y a continuación se realizará una recepción en la que participarán autoridades locales e invitados especiales.

Los consulados de Minneapolis, Nueva Jersey y Los Ángeles participarán en la gran conmemoración de la independencia con varios eventos culturales y musicales, dentro de los que se destacan los desfiles ecuatorianos a realizarse el domingo 9 de agosto en el centro de las tres ciudades.