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Nation/World

If You’re Going To Ecuador, Byob

Sat., Nov. 16, 1996

It’s not your ordinary sin tax.

President Abdala Bucaram’s 1,000-percent levy on booze and cigarettes will send you straight to purgatory - with a $300 bottle of Scotch.

“Drink is harmful,” Bucaram said. “Boozing and smoking lead to nothing.”

Bucaram, a former Olympic athlete who does not drink or smoke, ordered the tax Thursday night. By Friday, the government already was showing signs it was backing down.

Bucaram, 44, who took office in August, is known locally as “El Loco,” Spanish for “the Crazy One.”

His antics range from serenading the International Miss Banana contest winner to shaving his Charlie Chaplin mustache during a charity telethon.


 
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