course full of giggles at the gringo takingrntheir picture. On the wall above their tablesrnwas a mural of Jesus with a veryrnyoung-looking 12 disciples over whichrnwere the words in Spanish, “Give us thisrnday, our daily bread.” The meal wasrnnothing fancy, but was the staple ofrnLatin America, nourishing rice andrnbeans. (Anyone interested in helpingrnthis group may write Sister Isabel at Hogarrndel Nino San Vicente de Paul, #220rnSan Vicente de Paul St., Quito.)rnDuring the Fourth of July picnic at thernU.S. Ambassador’s residence, a youngrnman 1 had seen on my flight to Quitornwalked up and thrust a broadside into myrnhands concerning Texaco. He and hisrnpartner mingled with the crowd, quietlyrnhanding out the sheet, until the ambassadorrnread one and asked them to stoprnbecause this was a social occasion. Theyrnwere from the Rainforest Action Networkrnand its Ecuadorian front, AccionrnEcologica, and were protesting oil spillsrnin the Amazon. Their claim was thatrnTexaco, operating in the EcuadorianrnAmazon for 26 years, had produced 1.5rnbillion barrels of crude and spilled 3/100rnof one percent of it (about 533,000 barrels).rnA part of that spill was no doubtrndue to the tremendous earthquake ofrnMarch 1987, when the pipeline, whichrnall the many oil companies use, rupturedrnalong a 25-mile section. In 1990, perhapsrnbecause of a new environmentalrnawareness, the Ecuadorian Energy Ministryrnadopted a new environmental protectionrnpolicy that all oil companies hadrnagreed to follow. But the AmericanbasedrnRainforest Action Network insistsrnthat Texaco falls “far short of what wouldrnbe required in the U.S.”rnLike nearly every other country,rnEcuador runs on oil, but unlike many itrngets 50 percent of its foreign revenuernfrom oil and 50 percent of its governmentrnbudget. Should oil revenues berncut off, the results would be traumatic.rnBesides needing money to pay the hugernnumber of government employees (thernnumber has jumped 500 percent sincern1972 when oil production began), increasedrnrevenues will be needed for arnpopulation that has the third highestrngrowth rate in South America and willrndouble in 29 years. Unfortunately, currentrnreserves are estimated to run out inrn15 years. On top of all this, some claimrnthat the present cost of extraction andrnenvironmental protection is more thanrnthe oil brings on the current internationalrnmarket.rnI am of several minds about Americanrnpolitical activity in Latin America. Partrnof me wants the Ecuadorians, and especiallyrnthe Brazilians, to keep the rain forestrnintact for me in case a pharmaceuticalrnbotanist finds a cure for something Irnmight get, or in case I just want to visitrnand be reminded how hard Adam andrnEve had it before they were kicked out—rnno air-conditioning, or no television tornkeep up with Dick Morris and Slick.rnThis part of me just wants it all there sornsome taxonomist can name everythingrnbefore the Apocalypse. Another part ofrnme wants the Ecuadorians to take care ofrntheir own house and send the Americanrnactivists back to L.A. to teach all therndrivers to “just say no.” Probably if folksrnin L.A. stayed home one week, we wouldrnnot need Ecuador’s oil. Another part ofrnme knows that with the economic andrnpopulation pressure Ecuador faces, thernHuaorani nomads, variously estimatedrnto be 1,000-3,000, who live in the 2,700rnsquare miles of what is called the YasunirnNational Park and elsewhere in the rainrnforest, are not going to be permitted tornkeep it to themselves if the crunchrncomes.rnIn Part I of this adventure I mentionedrnthat I had ended up living in a Quito residencernyvhere a number of young Americansrnwere staying, all between 20 and 30,rnmiddle- and upper-middle-class collegernstudents from the East and West coasts.rnMost of them were affable and certainlyrnenergetic; I don’t think there is a virginrnmountain unclimbed in Ecuador. Somernremarks overheard at dinner can be attributedrnto their youth, but others reflectrnwhat their teachers have taught themrnthe last three or four decades. A youngrnmountain climber; “I only want to bernfree—that’s my politics. I certainly don’trnwant to get mixed up in politics. Just letrnme climb my mountains.” Another:rn”Pantheism, that’s for me. Its god, yournknow, Pan, is part animal.” A very pleasantrnwoman from New England who wasrna second-year law school student: “Irnhaven’t read anything since high school,rnwhich is terrible when you think I’m anrneducated person.” She was a vegetarianrndoing volunteer work for an environmentalrngroup. “I want to get to the jungle tornbe around real people.” Had she managedrnto get deep in the bush, which sherndid not, she would have met peoplerngrilling whole monkey and for whomrnnearly everything alive was somethingrnto eat. The one “indigenous” she metrncharged her $40 a day for a ride inrnan Amazonian boat whose outboardrnconked out so that she had to paddlernwith a tree limb to get back to town. Finally,rnI heard considerable contempt forrntheir own country, ranging from soft tornvirulent. A Californian: “The U.S. is thernenemy of every country in the world.”rnMother Superior Rosa Haro.rnAnyone who has not heard that ideasrnhave consequences and that a culturernwar has been waged since World War II,rnmight consider that two generations ofrnyoung people have been taught to despiserntheir country and its economic system,rnto be suspicious of their parents, tornencourage its women to hate the majorityrnof their men, and in the name ofrninternationalism, to accept kinds of immigrationrnthat are a national suicidernpact.rnSurely it must be possible to appreciaternanother country, another culture, itsrnart, its food, whatever is admirable, withoutrndespising one’s own. Ecuador hasrnmuch to admire, certainly artistically.rnScenically it is superb. Its economic andrnsocial problems do not result from a lackrnof natural resources. Its difficulties are,rnat least in part, a consequence of its ideasrnof itself, and maybe more importantly,rnthose ideas result from the idea that thernupper class has of itself, its lack of a sensernof obligation to those below it. All thisrnnotwithstanding, one will be hard putrnto find an Ecuadorian who hates hisrncountry.rnWilliam Mills is a novelist and poetrnwhose latest work of fiction is Propertiesrnof Blood.rnJANUARY 1997/41rnrnrn