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A Tale of $2 Bills in Ecuador

  Last night, upon returning to Latacunga after traveling with my god-daughter and her family for Carnival, I invited everyone out for pizza. All I had to pay was a stack of $2 bills. That’s all I ever have in Ecuador. Since the nation was dollarized in 2000 not many of these bills have made

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You can learn a lot about a place by observing how dogs exist within that society. I’ll compare the U.S., Ecuador and Laos; three nations I have lived in with vastly different cultures. In the U.S. stray dogs are almost entirely non existent because any that do are quickly trapped and put in cages. Many

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Rafael Correa: from candidate for change to president for life

Once a darling of the Ecuadorian left, the president’s power-grabs and policy reversals have hollowed out his support from the social movements that first brought him to power

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The Curious Case of $2 Bills in Ecuador

This story first appeared in The Billfold and has been featured by Public Radio International’s The World, The John Batchelor Show and The New York Times.


It’s my last night in Ecuador and I’m leaving a bar with some friends when one of the bartenders runs out after us.

“Are you the guy who exchanges $2 bills?”


He pulls out a ten. “I’ll take five.”

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Ecuador launches new digital currency – but most residents know little about it

Bill passed last July gives Central Bank authority to create digital dollars, but opinions divided along party lines amid concerns of a presidential power grab

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Sometimes I Get Arrested

I’ve published accounts of three different arrests, on three different continents, in three different publications. That seems worth celebrating.

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My First Revolution

By April 19th the city was in open rebellion, tear gas filled the air but everyone knew who was winning. On the 20th the protesters occupied every major government building and had effectively taken control of the city. The President fled and we danced in the streets all night. We won.

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It took me a long time to realize that I will always be an American. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I can never change where I am from.

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