Saturday, December 22, 2007

Leaving Ecuador

The government of Ecuador estimates that 403,000 people have emigrated in the past four years and have not returned. Emigration has really bothered Rafael Correa (who has called it a “national tragedy”) and the government is working on a variety of projects to remain connected to citizens abroad and to encourage them to return. Of course, these efforts also include facilitating the inexpensive and easy sending of remittances. There has been a lot of talk recently about how remittances to Mexico have dropped, but to Ecuador they continue to rise (up 7.5% from last year).

Correa has also held talks with the governments of Spain and Italy, which is where most migrants go, in addition to the United States. Given the political atmosphere here, not to mention the fact that Correa himself was treated like a potential criminal by immigration officials at the airport in Miami, it is a safe bet that he will not have similar talks with the Bush Administration.


Tambopaxi 8:08 PM  

After Mexico, Ecuador's right up there with El Salvador in numbers of citizens who've given up on their country and left for greener employment pastures. Correa's right to be concerned about this phenomenon, and I also agree that it's a national tragedy. As with El Sal, it's the toughest, best, and brightest who usually risk it all to find better opportunities.

I take issue with your characterization of Correa's treatment by ICE in Miami. As the linked article says, he was treated as an ordinary citizen, not a criminal, in passing through customs up there.

The reason that happened was because his own office (Secretaria de la Presidencia) neglected to inform the U.S. government that Correa was coming through, and indeedl, that same office didn't even tell Correa's Foreign Minister that he was leaving the country when he did.

The U.S. government showed enormous forebearance and tact with this intemperate man and his outburst. They could have laid the true, embarrassing facts, but they didn't do it. All of it did come out down here, though, and partly as a result of this incident (and other problems between Correa and the Foreign Ministry) Foreign Minister Espinoza resigned a couple of weeks later.

Greg Weeks 9:32 PM  

I don't know about the aftermath, but my understanding is that they kept insisting on searching him even after acknowledging he was a head of state. I didn't read anything about an intemperate outburst at the time aside from general annoyance.

Either way, he won't be having immigration talks with the Bush administration.

Tambopaxi 12:48 AM  

That's too bad (that is, that he won't be having talks with the U.S. about the status of Ecuadorians up there), but then again, that's a mark of Correa, who's emotionally unintelligent in some ways, and who's more and more overtly anti-gringo.

Correa's anti-gringoism is rather like a teenager rebelling against parents as a way of expressing a maturing personality (or, in this case, as a way of expressing a maturing national personality), but this approach actually does more harm to individual Ecuadorians.

If Correa refuses to talk to Washington on immigration or trade matters (he's said this past week that he will not ask for an extension of the ATPDEA after February; if the States wants to do it, that's their business), it will be Ecuadorian immigrants and Ecuadorian businessmen and workers who ultimately suffer because of Correa's self-indulgences, and that's a shame.

Bosque 2:44 PM  

I'd try and have my people come back too if I knew they weren't wanted in other nations. Correa sees the writing on the wall.

The EU and US are tightening immigration and "hate" groups are on the rise in both places.

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