In his first visit to Cuenca since his appointment, new United States Ambassador to Ecuador Michael Fitzpatrick credited the “good work” of the city’s expats for building strong relations between Ecuador and the U.S.
Fitzpatrick and U.S. General Consul Andrew Sherr hosted an early 4th of July party for Cuencanos and U.S. expats Wednesday night at the old provincial court at the corner of Calles Sucre and Luis Cordero in the historic district.
“I have heard many great things about Cuenca’s large expat community, particularly its generosity in supporting projects that improve the lives of the people of this city,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is an excellent example of the outreach that builds good relations between our countries.”
Fitzpatrick, who has spent more than 30 years in U.S. diplomatic service, much of it in Latin America, said he is eager to spend more time in Cuenca. “The warm welcome and great hospitality I have received here make me eager to come back.”
An avid cyclist and hiker, he added that he looks forward to exploring all of Ecuador. “I am very impressed by what I see in this country and look forward to my time here, and I especially look forward to getting outdoors.”
General Consul Sherr and Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios also addressed the audience, both welcoming Fitzpatrick and acknowledging the contributions of U.S. expats to Cuenca.
The evening included a presentation of colors ceremony by the U.S. embassy honor guard and and a performance of the national anthem by expat Sue Terry.
The invited guests included several U.S. citizens who have lived in Cuenca for more than 50 years. Richard Boroto, who came to Cuenca in 1965 as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, explained why he and other long-time expats married into local families and decided to stay. “They warned me when I first arrived in Quito that many of the volunteers ended up marrying Cuencanos. They said it gets cold at night and there’s not much to do.” Boroto recently retired as director of the Abraham Lincoln Cultural Center.