“Gringos!” I turned around and looked.
She was behind us and across the street, dressed in a school uniform, mid-teens, surrounded by laughing friends – all girls.
My wife and I were strolling on a Cuenca side street, not far from El Centro.
“Gringos!” She yelled it again. This time louder.
“What’s her problem?”Dee asked. We had both stopped walking and turned towards a nearby shop window. The group of a dozen estudiantes were all looking at us. We tried to ignore the noisy one. Nothing doing. She walked right up to us, hands on her hips, and kept it up to us, fast, loud and incoherent. She wasn’t exactly in our face, but she was close. It was worse because she was cute. It reminded me of my years in high school. Only one of her friends hung around, tugging on her sweater while looking embarrassed. La Seniorita Feisty’s tone wasn’t just angry, it was also mocking. She definitely had hutzpah. We weren’t threatened – hardly. Shocked works better. After months in Cuenca, it was the closest thing to a confrontation we’d experienced – no clue why. I was hearing one word – “gringos” – a lot.
Then I stopped her cold. Luckily, I had been reading an Ecuador tour guide, and I had just enough Spanish to bust in and say:
“No es gringo, yo es Canari, mi esposa es Otavalian.”
I’m 6’6”. The missus and I don’t exactly look local, tribal or indigenous. Young La Seniorita Feisty seemed confused for a second, then threw her head back laughing, turned and disappeared around the corner – thankfully.
“That was interesting.” We both said it at the same time.
Later, over margaritas, we discussed the little episode with friends. Veteran Cuenca expats blew it off. “There’s cocky teenagers here too.” As usual, I was the paranoid one. To me, La Seniorita Feisty’s rant felt political. I’m probably wrong. Maybe she was just complaining about gringos over-tipping Cuenca’s cab drivers, or bidding up condo rentals. It could be that she felt I take up too much room on the buses. Guilty there.
The fact that she was in a class uniform makes me wonder – what do they teach kids in Cuenca schools? Definitely something different than back in the USA. I hope it’s not current affairs, history or political science! If La Seniorita Feisty’s tirade happened today, I’d think she’d been reading Hillary’s leaked emails about Hispanics (1) or the Catholic Church (2).Or maybe she thinks Trump’s a racist. (3)
But that’s just me. I’m always the political one.
Our two-for-one margarita meeting moved on to this question: Does just being a gringo help you in Cuenca? Veteran “Expat Files” (4) podcaster, Johnny Mueller, calls it the “gringo advantage.” In many of his 600 shows, he has discussed how Latin America loves everything USA. Thank you American marketing, entertainment and dollar based consumer culture. But this advantage can also wear thin – or even turn negative. Stay off the tourist trail is Mueller’s secret. In his mind, too many expats in a single location weakens the benefit. And yes, he also considers how US foreign policy can turn things the wrong way. Welcome to expat politics 2016 – you’re involved, like it or not.
Our salted-rim discussion group voted “yes”, there’s still a gringo advantage in Cuenca. Not everyone agreed.
“This foreign policy stuff is a little confusin…” George W. Bush speaking to the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002
Maybe a bigger question effecting Cuenca expats – what do young Ecuadorians like La Senorita Fiesty believe about the USA? Could her confrontational attitude show a shift in gringo expat acceptance? Nah….. don’t overreact the old hands tell me. She had probably just been watching CNN.
For political news junkies like me, time in Cuenca is a reprieve. Here, my mind is usually occupied by things other than world affairs and media – like which banana is perfectly ripe, or how not to get clocked by a bus. Local TV news channels are refreshing in their cheesiness. They deliver long un-edited stories about some poor drowning victim, or a major mud slide affecting traffic. I can’t understanding most of the words, but at least I don’t feel manipulated. At the opposite end of the scale, on a planet far, far away is the US corporate media, actively subverting a historic election.
Maybe La Senorita Fiesty was a journalism student. That would explain her sarcasm.
“We’re going to lie to you.” Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, explaining perception managemen during a press conference, February, 2002
For those of us old enough to remember when Chet Huntley said goodnight to David Brinkley, the modern American news media has truly become something to behold. This election cycle is slamming the door on another era – corporate, television based, controlled mass media. Many analysts feel it was November, 1963 when real journalism died – during that Kennedy/Oswald thing. The Bush era brought new corporate media consolidation, in exchange for pro-war coverage. (5) Others point to the 2013 congressional suspension of the Smith-Mundt law. It forbid using propaganda on the US domestic population. (6) Back then, lies were for foreigners only. No longer. Taxpayer funded deceit is now officially legal. Modern terror-based US foreign policy depends on it. The US government is the biggest paying client. So much for the watchdog fourth estate – pillar of democracy. In post-911 America, disinformation is a billion dollar industry owned by six major conglomerates. It’s failing. Barely 15% of the population believes anything they say. (7) This credibility crash is accelerating thanks to their own election coverage – as one sided as any in the world. Two sides to the election story? That was then, this is now.
Perhaps the saddest group of Cuenca expat voters are the Bern victims. The grandfatherly Senator from Vermont was heavily favored in overseas retirement circles. They must have missed the memo – Hillary was the selected nominee before it all started. (8) At least Bernie provided a great independent media picture summing up the entire primary process. A day before he quit the party, he showed up on the DNC stage with a bruise and cut on his right cheek. (9) He looked bitch-slapped. The Senator for the poor people quickly retreated from public view to a new Vermont lakefront home – his third. (10)
Local Cuenca watering holes now serve as expat Bern units, nursing his wounded supporters, all badly Berned. Ironically, the preferred treatment is a flammable liquid taken internally – alcohol.
“If you’re really pro-Latino, you’re wary of Clinton’s undocumented immigration policies. They would hurt millions of Latinos already in the USA.” A.J.Delgado, Latino policy advisor to the Trump campaign.
If this was in Ecuador, the citizens wouldn’t stand for it. The US public are now the most lied to people on earth. Any Americans still watching are fed an incredible 24/7 carpet bombing of candidate Trump. And it’s not just TV. Major social media sites like Twitter and Facebook censor those who question the established order. For the first time in history, not one major US newspaper, out of 15, is supporting the Republican candidate. (11) But it’s not working. The terrified ruling elite, plus their media, are soiling themselves. Only one option remains – double down. Attacks, smears, orchestrated violence at Trump rallies, every conceivable type of voter fraud and election crimes are now in play. They no longer even bother to hide it. (12) And it’s not just news programs. Over 30 scripted prime time shows have run plot lines attacking Trump-like characters. (13) Their ratings have also reached new lows. (14)
Balanced, objective, informative, all are suddenly archaic journalistic concepts from a bygone era. Now, it’s all about controlling the message. Is an election rigged if media coverage is totally one-sided? Could it be considered a media coup d’etat against the people? Americans are saying yes. And their very angry. (15)
For US expats tucked away in Ecuador, this makes real news from back home even more elusive. Cuenca’s cable TV feeds carry mostly big stateside networks and their usual prattle. How’s your Spanish? The TeleSUR group occasionally shows spunk in covering US Latin American policy. Univision is all in for Hillary. No habla Espanol? That’s OK, just watch. They look damn good in heels, something they learned from Fox News. (16)
For those who care, expats are now virtually 100% dependent on an internet connection for real news. Keep those favorite links handy, because everything is a target in the info wars. A huge attack on a DNS mapping service recently shut down Twitter and Reddit in North America (17). Here’s a shocker – these are the top US outlets for Wikileaks information on the Clinton crimes.
“….it’s a good, strategic position….. it cannot be misinterpreted by actors in the US and even domestically in Ecuador.” Julian Assange praising Ecuador’s strategic decision to cut off his internet access, Nov, 2016.
The USA has spent billions developing cyber weapons that are untraceable and can falsely point back to any scapegoat. Secretary of State Kerry has already threatened Ecuador over WikiLeaks. He must think Assange has everything on floppy disks in a shoebox under the bed. Although President Correa has played this situation well, the Clinton wrath knows no bounds. Could the country that harbors Hillary’smost dangerous critic end up as a vulnerable target for internet disruptions? Banks are well known targets.
How are those Cuenca ATM’s working today? (18)
“A little rebellion now and then…. Is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” Thomas Jefferson
Writers love a metaphor. When it comes to the Clinton crimes, it takes a big one. As my wife Dee and I stroll amidst the massive mercado on Cuenca’s west side, I spot the perfect comparison. Probing a Clinton crime is like buying just one potato at Feria Libra. First, pick from the dozens of “crimetato” varieties. All are similar, but slightly different. You don’t have to dig deep to find them. Like Hillary, they’re thin-skinned. Dirty too. You can see it in the eyes.
Let’s choose a few good ones, just for the fun of peeling them.
Imagine, for one second, the popular president of Ecuador is surrounded by hundreds of people at a public rally in the center of Cuenca. Suddenly, he has some kind of medical emergency, completely passes out and is loaded, unconscious, into a limo by three or four burly body guards. Do you think anyone would notice? Would it make the Ecuador news? Would there be a single cab driver or laborer in the country that didn’t know about it the next day?
It was the perfect bookend to the USA’s 911 era. Hillary, in New York for the 15th anniversary of the attacks, initiated a whole new 911 truth movement – version 2.0. Feeling “overheated” on a breezy, 70 degree day, she retreats to one of her custom built limos.(19) Leaning on a concrete pylon, she has some type of medical episode, and then totally collapses as they load her into the car, leaving behind one of her shoes (20).
For you 911-Truthers, Hillary went down like Building 7, at freefall speed, almost like a controlled demolition.
Of course, no corporate news outlet dared cover this event. Hillary’s health issues are either down-played or totally ignored on TV. (30) Mainstream media in the USA is now officially dead, and the modern era of citizen journalism has been born. One onlooker with his cell phone was able to capture the video that has now been seen by tens of millions around the world. (21)
It gets better. Does Hillary go to a hospital? No. She heads for daughter Chelsea’s nearby apartment. Two hours later, with no secret service protection, without her daughter or husband, no aides, no entourage, she energetically strolls out of the building for the waiting cameras, hugs a little girl (an actress), says she’s feeling fine and disappears into a waiting limo. The internet erupts. (22)
Somehow, two hours after collapsing, Hillary is vibrant, chipper and looks great. A little too great. She appears 10 years younger, maybe 3inches shorter and at least 30 pounds lighter. It’s deemed the Hillary double diet plan. Women everywhere want to know how sheso quickly lost six inches off her hips. (Insert your own Miss. Venezuela joke here.)
Not even Argentina’s Eva Peron used body doubles. Latin America still has a lot to learn about politics – USA style.
That’s it! La Senorita Fiesty was peeved at Trumps rude comments about Miss Venezuela. Well I don’t think she’s fat! No es gorda…….
“We’ll renew the (Manta) base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami – an Ecuadorian base.” President Rafael Correa speaking in Italy, 2007.
Hillary’ass dissenters. They have ways to ensure compliance. Enter Julian Assange. His repeated WikiLeaks revelations have continually spiked the Clinton campaign. “Bulls Eye” Assange, whoever is paying him, has to qualify as extremely brave, if not heroic.
Clinton violence, aimed at Assange, gets my vote as the second biggest threat to a peaceful expat life in Ecuador.
The bookish toe-headed dude is a complicated story. Within the independent media, he arouses much suspicion. Assange appeared out of nowhere in 2010. Most real whistle blowers end up in a dumpster, not on the cover of Time magazine. (23) And then there’s that bleached white hair, his strange itinerate upbringing, connections between his mother and intelligence agencies, his links with Britain’s MI6, his refusal to touch 911 topics, his money shakedown of major targets, etc. etc. (24) Is he being played by US intelligence groups to influence the US election? Most agree Assange is NSA, others claim he’s theirtarget. The CIA is definitely pro-Hillary, which makes them anti-Assange. (25) But there is a major revolt brewing. Many patriots within the American intelligence community are now refusing to allow the Clintons to steal the presidency. (26) This proves major factions exist and loyalties are fluid. Incredibly, even the US military is starting to take sides. (27) It’s a war for empire within the Washington DC beltway. Follow it all closely and you’ll be a Cuenca wannabe too.
One thing seems obvious, Assange is not in the Hillary camp. There is nowhere more dangerous to NOT be.
Here’s another potato. Last August 22nd, at 2:15 am, an intruder attempted to scale the outside wall of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Corporate media spent little time on it. Independent news reports provided the real story. (28) Witnesses reported an armed man in full combat gear who, once discovered, repelled off the building very quickly and fled. He left behind military grade climbing rope and rigging. The embassy is two blocks from a 24-hour police station. Ecuador formally complained that it took authorities two and a half hours to show up. Call me Sherlock – the cops where in on it. Who has enough power to pull strings with London police, and then attempt such an international criminal operation?
“Can’t we just drone this guy?” Hillary Clinton to a full staff meeting, regarding Julian Assange. From a leaked email written in 2010. (29)
Imagine for just a moment, the election is over and Hillary is in the White House. It’s now payback time. Here in Cuenca, expats arise to enjoy another beautiful morning, a cup of delicious local coffee and your usual computer news. You log onto your favorite website, and, hypothetically, are greeted with this: Where the Ecuadorian embassy once stood in London, there is now only a smoldering crater. Julian Assange, and everyone else inside, has been reduced to bird food. Let’s call it a terrible gas leak.
Do you think maybe some local people would suspect the USA? Might President Hillary’s cleanup affect the attitudes of Cuenca locals?Our gringo advantage wouldn’t be threatened by some little international murder incident, would it? No local Ecuadorian politicians would take advantage by scapegoating Americans, would they?There would NOT be a growing line of nervous grey haired expats forming at the Cuenca airport.
La Seniorita Feisty would NOT be chewing out another gringo couple.
That’s just the conspiracy theorist in me. A President Hillary would never do such a thing. No way. Even if she did, it’s just another day in the empire, no different than droning all those Afghan weddings. This is Ecuador, nobody would know or care. I’ll STFU. Nothing to worry about. As you were.
“We have to collate all the names to make sure there are no dead people voting; this will be very complex. But we will do it……” Gilmar Gutierrez of Ecuador’s Patriotic Society party on reviewing pre-election voter registrations – virtually impossible in the USA.
Did I say nothing to worry about? The US election is now much bigger than just Clinton vs. Trump. The entire concept of globalism, open borders and world government are being questioned. Can American corporate media control public perceptions? 24 million US voter registrations are invalid, a significant factor. (31) A landslide electing Trump would be the biggest FU to the ruling class, and their media, in American history. It’s the final test on whether voters can change the massively corrupt US political system from within.If that can’t happen, violence is a distinct possibility.
To me, only one thing seems certain. It’s a good time to be in Cuenca.
In a quiet corner near the back of the Mercado 12 de Abril on Cuenca’s Av. Guapdondelig ismy favorite pineapple stall. The friendly indigenous lady always selects one that’s perfectly ripe and sells thick slices for 30 cents each. I give her a dollar for three. There is always a crate to sit on amid the piles of fruit and loaded carts. The flavor of fresh pina is amazing. We chat in very short sentences as she watches me eat. She asks where I’m from and smiles when I answer. Geopolitics seems a galaxy away. Then, from her worn apron pocket she pulls out a smart phone, puts on a pair of glasses and starts tapping. I can just recognize the Univision Newsapp as she scrolls and reads.
I wonder if she knows their biased for Hillary, and Trump’s not really a racist.
Am I in for another La Senorita Fiesty style scolding?
No matter where I go, I can’t get away from this stuff.
It’s probably just me.
(To read Part One, click here.)
- Clinton team emails insult Hispanics: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2016/10/13/podesta-told-hillary-to-woo-needy-latinos-n2231733
- The churches reaction to the Clinton teamslurs: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/10/14/catholic-bishops-and-campaigners-condemn-ugly-and-anti-catholic-emails-between-clinton-team/
- Dem operatives plan “Trump is a racist” campaign strategy: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/263989/hillarys-long-cozy-love-affairs-racists-john-perazzo
- Download Johnny Mueller’s twice weekly Expat Files podcast at http://theexpatfiles.podbean.com/
- For a good overview of this media consolidation, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/03/business/deregulating-media-overview-regulators-ease-rules-governing-media-ownership.html?_r=0
- US ends ban on domestic propaganda: https://www.rt.com/usa/smith-mundt-domestic-propaganda-121/
- Trust in US corporate media hits a pathetic new low: http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/the-american-medias-approval-ratings-hit-a-pathetic-new-low
- The DNC fixed the nomination early on: http://observer.com/2016/07/wikileaks-proves-primary-was-rigged-dnc-undermined-democracy/
- DNC witnesses say Sanders was physically assaulted: http://yournewswire.com/dnc-witnesses-say-bernie-sanders-was-physically-assaulted/
- Nice place. http://heavy.com/news/2016/08/bernie-sanders-new-house-photos-pictures-lake-home-jane-net-worth-price-north-hero-vermont-purchased/
- With the recent exception of the Washington Post, no corporate owned newspaper will touch Trump: https://www.yahoo.com/news/donald-trump-makes-history-zero-major-newspaper-endorsements-000943174.html
- Most devastating have been the Project Veritas undercover videos of DNC election fraud.The got Zero TV coverage, and a million internet views per hour: http://projectveritasaction.com/
- For a review of non-news, anti-Trump programing see Dan Gainor in Breitbart News Daily for 10-25-15: https://soundcloud.com/breitbart
- ABC admits to ratings dive: http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/abc-2014-15-season-ratings-38054/
- Trump supporters show restraint with CNN: http://www.infowars.com/cnn-sucks-crowd-of-trump-supporters-express-contempt-for-mainstream-media/
- Fox ranks panelists using “leg cam”: http://gawker.com/fox-news-uses-a-leg-cam-to-ogle-female-panelists-legs-1469841162
- Many consider this attack just a warm up for something similar during the election: http://www.indiatimes.com/news/world/cyber-attacks-shut-down-twitter-other-websites-in-us-east-coast-264007.html
- Scott Bennett, author of Shell Game, discusses possible cyber threats made against Ecuador, including banking targets. Download the 18 October 2016 “Ground Zero” podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/groundzeromedia
- Two custom “Scooby”vans built for the Hillary campaign: http://truepundit.com/hillarys-hospital-van-weaponized-medical-transport-carts-her-to-campaign-stops/
- Russia Today covered Hillary’s 911 collapse: https://www.rt.com/usa/358983-hillary-clinton-overheated-memorial/
- Citizen journalist Zdenek Gazda was in the right place at the right time with a smart phone: https://www.wired.com/2016/09/making-hillary-clintons-unwanted-viral-video/
- A good list of independent news reports on Hillary’s body double(s): http://www.rense.com/general96/hillbodydoubcont.htm
- Assange is introduced to the world in 2010: http://content.time.com/time/covers/europe/0,16641,20101213,00.html
- America’s best remaining investigative journalist, Wayne Madsen, writes extensively about Julian Assange: http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/search?q=Assange&page=1
- A good discussion of organizational political leanings, including media and intelligence groups, can be found on The Leaner Report from the No Agenda Show: http://www.noagendashow.com/ and http://cosmicweenie.com/LeanerReport.pdf
- Former intel officer Steve Pieczenik discusses the internal coup currently happening: https://youtu.be/zic64WhR14k
- Retired generals and many active duty military openly support Trump: http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/09/06/88-u-s-generals-admirals-endorse-donald-trump-public-letter/
- Former intel officer Steve Pieczenik discusses the internal coup currently happening: https://youtu.be/zic64WhR14k
- For a good analysis of Hillary’s talk of murdering Assange: http://truepundit.com/under-intense-pressure-to-silence-wikileaks-secretary-of-state-hillary-clinton-proposed-drone-strike-on-julian-assange/
- Ted Noel’s reports on Hillary’s health have gone viral:http://rinf.com/alt-news/newswire/signs-of-hillarys-parkinsons-disease/
- Massive registration fraud will be a factor: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/10/pew-center-1-8-million-dead-people-voter-rolls-2-75-million-registered-two-states/