Free enterprise in Sasquisili, Kcuador.rna pre’ious election and a university professor,rnlie told me that in his opinionrnthere was no real difference in Nebot andrnAbdala Buearam. He had been Abdala’srnteacher. As to the promise of housing,rnsome of it could be done, he thought—rnhe had written a long article explainingrnhow. I le remarked that Abdala had arngreat potential for histrionics. ElsewherernI had heard that when Abdala spoke beforerna large group of businessmen inrnQuito, his speech was calm and reasonable.rnApparenth’ his public performancesrnare largely acts fitted to his audiences,rnCharlie Chaplin mustache and all (hisrnopponents would say Ilitlerian). It isrnEcuadorian law that 30 percent of thernbudget should go to education, whichrnhas so far not happened. To the questionrnabout whether the law would now be fulfilled.rnMange said it would be very, veryrndifficult. At the most, 18 percent, hernthought.rnTo my question, “Who started thernborder war between Ecuador and Peru,”rnMaugc said it was difficult to tell. I wasrnsurprised to learn that the hidians werernplaving a big role in the fighting, althoughrnthe ones on the Ecuadorian sidernhave not been traditional enemies of thernones in Peru. The Peruvian army did notrnrealize, Mange said, how much resistancernthere would be. For people in Lima,rnit was rather a remote disturbance,rnbut for Ecuador, which had already lostrnmuch of its land to Peru (land that it stillrnclaims), the struggle was a very importantrnmatter, one of national honor.rnFernando Sanchez, my aide-de-camp,rninsisted that I should go to the CafernMadrilon in the oldest part of Quito,rnnear the Presidential Palace and thernCathedral, if 1 wanted to get a sensernof what Abdala’s government mightrnpresage. A cross-section of people, especiallyrnretired bankers, lawyers, and doctors,rnsit around tables in the rather plain,rnhigh-ceilinged cafe, and discuss the greatrnmatters of the day. The couple of timesrnI visited, I also met an electrician and arnwell-known boxer there. Mr. Scvilla-rnSuarez, a retired banker, and others,rnthought there was no chance of any nationalizationrnof industries, and that therernwould be no shift to the left. Most of thernhabitues thought the government wouldrnbe a continuation of Sixto. One thingrnthey had apprehensions about was thernwar. Sevilla-Suarez said he hoped Clintonrnwould bring about a resolution: “Hernshould order it.” I asked, “Can he?” andrnwas answered, “Why not?” All the candidatesrnfeel they must come to thernMadrikm, they said. Political problemsrnhave been resolved right here in the cafe.rnSo influential is the group, that whenrnSixto’s vice president wanted to close itrndown to get rid of the locals (which hernfailed to do) the group announced that ifrnthe cafe were closed down it would movernto the Palace for coffee.rnEnrique Ayala Mora, a socialist andrnperhaps the premier historian inrnEcuador, gave me a quick overview of recentrnEcuadorian political history. Significantrnevents were the change in the partyrnsystem after 1947, which determinedrnthat the parties were no longer run by therngovernnrent but by a tribunal, and thern1978 constitution, which for the firstrntime was not dictated but voted on byrnthe people. Ayala observed that one ofrnthe main problems for Ecuador is thatrnthe government does not collect 40 to 50rnpercent of the taxes. Salaried workersrnhave to pay, but big business no. Therncorruption is acute.rnWhat is needed for Ecuador tornchange course? Almost everyone agreedrnthat the taxes have to be collected andrnthe people educated. Ayala said it is notrnjust a matter of money, but of politicalrnwill. Ecuadorians do not need to berntaught free enterprise.rnLater I visited the village of Sasquisili,rnsouth of Quito, on market day and foundrnpure free trading in farm products,rnclothes, tools, and electronics, as well as arnpicturesque animal auction. What isrnneeded is universal schooling, especiallyrnin the trades and technical fields. Plusrncapital, which is difficult to come by.rnWith a population of about 11.5 million,rnhalf the people do not have regular workrnand 75 percent are poor, according tornone source. Not only will foreigners, especiallyrnforeign businessmen, be watchingrnAbdala Bucaram’s government, butrnmore important, so will the millions ofrnEcuador’s poor and unemployed.rnThese problems notwithstanding, thernpeople are more cheerful, their behaviorrnmore upbeat, than what 1 often find inrnex-Soviet countries. Here the churchesrnhave not been shut down and thousandsrnof religious murdered. Certainly thernweather is better, especially in the sierra.rnAbout Ecuador’s thriving cultural life—rnespecially Ecuadorian artists who paintrnlike angels and a couple of nuns who mayrnbe—more next month.rnWilliam Mills is a novelist and poetrnwhose latest work of fiction is Propertiesrnof Blood.rnLetter FromrnOklahoma Cityrnby Susan Lanier AndersonrnCompassion, Inc.rnApril 19, 1995, is a date etched in thernminds of all who live in Oklahoma City,rnbecause it was on that day at 9:02 A.M.rnDECEMBER 1996/39rnrnrn