Travel Safety Ecuador

Culture Shock! Ecuador: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

November 4, 2009


UPDATE - NOVEMBER 7, 2009 from Portland Oregon has provided new information into the death of the young U.S. man murdered earlier this week in Manta. First, the papers in Ecuador had the victims name wrong and per the report with, his name is Max Chamberlin, and is age 22. Mr. Chamberlin was a former exchange student during high school in Manta, Ecuador. He returned to Ecuador and was in the process of building an apartment building. reports that Max was advised that the building he was constructing could not be in a U.S. citizens name and that he had signed it over to someone else. Also, Max reported in late October that he found some of his money missing.


Regarding business practices in Ecuador: One of the scams Ecuadorian criminals operate on is to befriend a foreigner and act as if they know how things work in Ecuador. They then will recommend someone who is a professional to handle a matter for them. The foreigner trusting this person believes they are being referred to someone knowledgeable and honest. If it is a scam the person making the recommendation is also on the take with the person they recommend. The victim will find that more and more money is required at each meeting. Believe me, no matter how poor you are, the average Ecuadorian scamster is going to see you as a pipeline of money. You are viewed as rich. Ecuadorian stereotypes of foreigners are very entrenched - especially if they have never been out of Ecuador. This scam is often used against foreigners from other Latin American countries who are trying to obtain legal status. Diligence is required in checking out anyone who claims to be a professional in Ecuador. I highly recommend obtaining names of professionals from your consulate or embassy despite their disclaimer that they are not recommending them. I also think the being a member on the Ecuador Expats group on Yahoo is invaluable. There are numbers of people on the group who live in Ecuador and can provide advice or other information. You must be vigilant in your business dealings in Ecuador. There are numerous above average professionals in Ecuador, however, they must be sought out and investigated.     


Newspapers report that there are no suspects to date for the murder of Max Chamberly Madnick who was murdered in Manta earlier this week. The newspapers have been unclear as to the exact time Mr. Madnick had been in Ecuador. We are attempting to gather more information as to Mr. Madnick's death. 

November 4, 2009

According to the newspaper El Mercurio, 22 year-old Max Chamberly Madnick from the United States was murdered on November 2, 2009, in Manta. The reason for his murder is unknown and there have been no suspects taken into custody. He was found in a vehicle that he had borrowed from a friend and was shot in the head. Firemen transported him to a local hospital where he passed away at 04:55. He was listed in the newspaper as having studied at the Julio Pierre Grosse high school in Manta under an NGO program through (World Studen ?).

We have not been able to determine his hometown in the U.S. or the exact program that he was studying under. As more information becomes available this report will be updated. Other reports have Madnick listed as age 21.



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