Top Ten things not to do if you're the president of Ecuador

Robert Harley (
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 16:30:43 +0100 (MET)

A case of truth being funnier than fiction, by the Independent's Latin
America correspondent, Phil Divison.

1) Do not call yourself "El Loco" (the Madman). It may sound quaint
for your election campaign but it might stick.

2) Do not admit that one of your favourite books is Mein Kampf. And if
you are known for your Hitler-style moustache, do not shave it off
on television, even to raise money for charity. And if your brother's
name is Adolfo and he also wears a Hitler moustache, do not appoint
him minister of social welfare.

3) If you campaign as a populist superhero do not raise gas, electricity
and fuel prices by 300% five months later.

4) If you appoint an old buddy to the key job of energy minister,
discourage him from telling a leading magazine: "I would have liked
to have lived in the caveman era, walking around with no clothes.
Then if I liked a woman, I could grab her by the hair and drag her
off to my cave and eat her. That way, I would satisfy my sexual
appetite and my biological appetite."

5) If your son is only 18 but already running the country's customs
service, do not let him throw a party to celebrate his first
million dollars. And do not buy him a red Porsche or fly him to
Miami on the presidential jet at public expense.

6) Do not invite Lorena Bobitt for lunch at the presidential palace
and fete her as a leading defender of women's rights. Men vote too,
you know.

7) If your nation is paralysed by a general strike in protest against
you, do not declare it a national holiday "so public workers can
join in the fun".

8) If you must cut a compact disc called "Madman in Love" and belt out
"Jailhouse Rock" in your own language at a rock concert, do not pour
a bottle of Perrier over your head to cool off. Real rockers use

9) If you insult one of your predecessors by calling him a donkey, and
are then forced by public outcry to apologise, do not say "I
apologise to all donkeys".

10) If you must buy your way in as a chairman of a first division
football side, and the poor are rioting in the streets, do not
announce that you are going to sign Diego Maradona and pay him one
million dollars for his first game.