An Influx to EC From a So. American Country Where It's All Gone Wrong

.  Those paying close attention to this blog for Ecuador may have noticed the more frequent appearance lately of the flag of Venesuela alongside the introductions of new members.
    Though frequently not English-speakers, these folks are seeking out this blog and considering moving to EC...and perhaps other Expat-friendly places that are more peaceful and prosperous than their own country.
    There are difficult times in Ven.  The economy is sour and there have been thousands of "Venesuelan Spring" public demonstrations this year, some deadly.
    From Wikipedia:  "The protests erupted, for the most part, of as a result of Ven.'s high levels of violence, inflation and chronic shortages of basic goods, which protesters and analysts claim are caused by economic policies such as strict price controls.  At least 6,369 protests occurred during the first six months of the year (2014).
    "...protests occurred in January 2014, after the murder of actress and former Miss Venesuela Monica Spear (and the Ven.) government has been widely condemned...for the use of rubber bullets and tear gas to instances of live ammunition and torture of arrested prisoners."
    There have been 42 deaths from the demonstrations, according to the most recent Travel Warning (June 2014) posted online by the U.S. State Department.
    However, that number pales in comparison to the 24,763 Ven. homicides recorded last year, according to the non-governmental group Venesuelan Violence Observatory -- a rate of 79 per 100,000, one of the highest murder rates worldwide.  And the local rate in the capital, Caracas, is more than 50 percent higher than that.
    The U.S. State Department says that there were 625 Ven. kidnappings reported last year but that 80 percent of kidnappings go unreported, so the true number could have been upwards of 3,000.
    Ecuador's friendly relationship with Ven.'s government in recent years may account for part of the interest in coming here.  The Correa government has issued a posthumous postal stamp bearing the likeness of the late presidente Hugo Chaves, who died last year.
    cccmedia, Quito

Well documented strife in Ven., makes sense that people want to get out of there.  How different is the Spanish in Ecuador from the Spanish spoken in Ven.?  I would imagine the people of Ecuador would be upset if refugees start taking their jobs, for this is something expats, especially baby boomers, generally do not do.  Could additions to the work force cause lowered wages?

mugtech :

I would imagine the people of Ecuador would be upset if refugees start taking their jobs, for this is something expats, especially baby boomers, generally do not do.  Could additions to the work force cause lowered wages?

All that could occur.

It may depend on how successful the EC government will be in controlling who gets in.

South Americans who have not reached retirement age or status and want to move to EC face the well-known visa barriers that are designed to limit the taking of jobs. 

So-called "professionals" are welcome here;  however, non-professionals will need a job offer for a specific position, usually on a contract with an Ecuador-based employer, to qualify for a work-related visa.

Of course, retirees are welcome under various investment scenarios -- as Mugtech suggested, they do not pose an apparent threat in the job market.  If they come with younger dependents who get visa priority, that might have some employment impact to the detriment of Ecuadorianos.

The fact that many more Ven. residents are seeking info at Expat.com does not mean that most of them will qualify for anything more than a 90-day tourist visa.

cccmedia, Quito

Reading along somewhere, it might have been a different forum here on expatblog -

But the poster mention that there is some kind residency visa agreement among OPEC country members. I don't actually know anything about it.

Both Venezuela and Ecuador are OPEC members.

gardener1 :

Reading along somewhere, it might have been a different forum here on expatblog -

But the poster mention that there is some kind residency visa agreement among OPEC country members. I don't actually know anything about it.

Bot Venezuela and Ecuador are OPEC members.

Wouldn't that be something else, an influx of Middle Easterners?

With many of the OPEC countries, perhaps the problem is not permissions to live in a different OPEC country, but getting out of the home county. This may be the harder trick to pull off.

mugtech :

Well documented strife in Ven., makes sense that people want to get out of there.

And do they ever.  Just since yesterday, when I initiated this thread, Ven. nationals have been joining this (English-speaking) EC Expat.com at a high rate.

So, welcome to EC Expat.com:  Andrehnd, Ska12, ROSALESRE, Carlos Eduardo, Omaira Romero, and Yuri...and the many others from Ven. who came aboard looking for information or guidance in the preceding days, weeks, months.

Since I put up a post about coming to EC on the Spanish-language Ven. version of Expat.com a couple of days ago, various Ven. nationals still in that country have been responding to my post over there, seeking more information about getting out of their homeland.

One of them, Rvegas81, puts it this way on his intro page:

"La situaction en Ven. me hace querer irme cada dia mas."

Loose translation:  The Ven. situation makes me want to get outa here even more every day.

cccmedia in Quito

From the Mideast, Ukranian people I have written to it always seems like they wait too long. Do they think things will get better? Do they believe the propaganda on TV, newspapers? Can't they see the handwriting on the wall? Only the people with money and smarts make it out of these places before the proverbial s... hits the fan.

suefrankdahl :

From the Mideast, Ukranian people I have written to it always seems like they wait too long. Do they think things will get better? Do they believe the propaganda on TV, newspapers? Can't they see the handwriting on the wall? Only the people with money and smarts make it out of these places before the proverbial s... hits the fan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/inter … .html?_r=0

Believe if you look at date from that article you will find a large exodus of money, and individuals from Venezuela during that time frame. Unfortunately for many just relocating yourself, and money is not that easy. Am sure many have wanted to get out long before now, but limited resources can make that difficult to achieve. Of course there is also those who were true believers in the system, that is I suppose until they could no longer ignore the obvious. A most unfortunate situation with no end in sight in Venezuela. Hopefully those who can make it out can start rebuilding a new, and better life in Ecuador, or where ever they end up.

Do you think things might have been any better if the Chavista candidate had lost the election.

Sure relocating is difficult for all the reasons you stated. Many had to leave families behind and the lucky ones had families to go to outside these places I was basing my opinion on the people I write to in Mideast and Ukraine. Most of them don't believe in what the new systems have to offer but it's pretty much anecdotal evidence so who knows.

suefrankdahl :

Do you think things might have been any better if the Chavista candidate had lost the election.

Sure relocating is difficult for all the reasons you stated. Many had to leave families behind and the lucky ones had families to go to outside these places I was basing my opinion on the people I write to in Mideast and Ukraine. Most of them don't believe in what the new systems have to offer but it's pretty much anecdotal evidence so who knows.

Ah, ok got ya Sue. See where you're coming from now.

Suppose the point I was trying to make, and probably poorly, was that it's not like Venezuela has just all of the sudden gone downhill. There were plenty of people (not just rich) who saw the writing on the walls, and made the choice to get out, or many who at least hedged, and moved a percentage of income out, and already had a backup plan of where to go should the arise need. I was in Panama during that time period, and there was a large amount of Venezuelans moving there.  As stated earlier, unfortunately there is also those who never really had the option, or the means, but let's not make it sound like Venezuela has been doing well, and out of nowhere things have started to deteriorate. That country has been a disaster for quite some time now, and while not popular to say it's only going to continue to get worse.

Probably don't follow current events in SA as well as you but my understanding was that Chavez had "nationalized" a lot or most of the equipment, etc from foreign companies drilling oil there. The money was supposed to fund his big socialist revolution there which it did for a time and ultimately corruption, inflation killed the whole thing Is it not unlike Correa's buen vivar except that the Chinese are giving him the money in exchange for the natural  resources? I guess you could say that  that's why populist presidents are so popular till things start going south.

suefrankdahl :

Is it not unlike Correa's buen vivar except that the Chinese are giving him the money in exchange for the natural  resources? I guess you could say that  that's why populist presidents are so popular till things start going south.

I agree -- that is why I have said here before that it might be unwise to get an investors' visa (if $25k represents a major portion of you assets). Correa has often stated that he is an admirer of Chavez and tries to model his approach accordingly -- though it is significant that he has not done any major nationalizations that I know of.

He has, though, spent the proceeds of the oil boom on social programs, and hocked future revenues to keep them going. At some point, the money will run out, and the results may not be pretty.

BobH :
suefrankdahl :

Is it not unlike Correa's buen vivar except that the Chinese are giving him the money in exchange for the natural  resources? I guess you could say that  that's why populist presidents are so popular till things start going south.

I agree -- that is why I have said here before that it might be unwise to get an investors' visa (if $25k represents a major portion of you assets). Correa has often stated that he is an admirer of Chavez and tries to model his approach accordingly -- though it is significant that he has not done any major nationalizations that I know of.

He has, though, spent the proceeds of the oil boom on social programs, and hocked future revenues to keep them going. At some point, the money will run out, and the results may not be pretty.

I think there is definitely some fundamental differences between Ecuador, and Venezuela. So far almost everything has worked out well for Correa. The next several years should be interesting to see how the economy stands, and where Correa stands. Oil can be an unpredictable market, but it looks like a very good chance the prices will remain lower for the foreseeable future. Of course, as I say this  oil will probably be at $120 a month from now, but just taking different variables (Japan recession, China possible lower growth, U.S. growth in shale oil and natural gas, Saudi's wanting to keep market share etc.) it's not very far fetched to believe prices will remain lower. If that's the case, then we will see exactly where Ecuador stands economically, and politically. Not counting on it, but perhaps low oil prices won't have as big an impact on Ecuador as many of us think it will have.

Have read also that Ecuador may become the next Venezuela. What's to stop Correa from doing what Chavez did with all the foreign investment? Could he be waiting for the hydroelectric dams to be built? What could the investors do once they were working? tax electricity? One more stupid question....what drives inflation?....Should have paid more attention when I took eco

suefrankdahl :

Have read also that Ecuador may become the next Venezuela. What's to stop Correa from doing what Chavez did with all the foreign investment? Could he be waiting for the hydroelectric dams to be built? What could the investors do once they were working? tax electricity? One more stupid question....what drives inflation?....Should have paid more attention when I took eco

Unlikely Ecuador will be the next Venezuela, but possible. To quote James Carville "it's the economy stupid." Any country and economy goes through cycles of good, and bad times. So far since Correa has been in office Ecuador has seen good times. As a result he has always been popular amongst the majority. For me, the real question has always been what will happen in an economic downturn, which will happen sooner or later? They happen to every country. You can tell much more about a man when the times are tough than you can when the times are good.

Have always found it odd the praise Correa gives to guys like Castro, Chavez, and Ortega. From my viewpoint, and would assume the vast majorities view point those countries, and regimes have been nothing but disasters. Again doubt Ecuador will be another Venezuela, but never say never.

Yes, we'll have to wait and see.

Pretty much the death blow for Venezuela, and probably not the best news for Ecuador either.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/ … O320141127

j600rr :

Pretty much the death blow for Venezuela, and probably not the best news for Ecuador either.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/ … O320141127

Hard to tell what the Saudis are up to, but it sounds like prices have not yet bottomed, and the next OPEC meeting is scheduled for June, so it does sound like short term hard times in an effort to knock the shale boys out of the market.  Local gas for regular is $2.84/gal, certainly helps the US economy at Christmas time.  One must wonder how the continuing lower oil prices will effect Ecuador, but Venezuela sounds like they have big trouble.  More refugees?

mugtech :
j600rr :

Pretty much the death blow for Venezuela, and probably not the best news for Ecuador either.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/ … O320141127

Hard to tell what the Saudis are up to, but it sounds like prices have not yet bottomed, and the next OPEC meeting is scheduled for June, so it does sound like short term hard times in an effort to knock the shale boys out of the market.  Local gas for regular is $2.84/gal, certainly helps the US economy at Christmas time.  One must wonder how the continuing lower oil prices will effect Ecuador, but Venezuela sounds like they have big trouble.  More refugees?

Is a pretty safe bet to assume the Saudi's want to shut down the shale boys. Kind of depends how low prices will go. A lot of the new boys that jumped into the shale market when it was booming will go out of business, but some of the bigger players  are still profitable at lower prices. It's a dog eat dog world. The Saudi's are doing what is best, or what they think is best for them. If it is, or isn't remains to be seen, but it's not the Saudi's fault that many of these other oil producing countries have leveraged their whole future on high oil prices. All these countries want Saudi Arabia to cut production, but yet they don't want to cut their own production.

Yes greed is ruining the monopoly, to the benefit of consumers.

Ok, CC: At the risk of offending my American friends (oops, too late)...could substitute Venezuela's name for (you pick) state or city in the US re: violence, corruption, depletion of company pension funds, etc. hence the migration. Just sayin'

pensionado :

Ok, CC: At the risk of offending my American friends (oops, too late)...could substitute Venezuela's name for (you pick) state or city in the US re: violence, corruption, depletion of company pension funds, etc. hence the migration. Just sayin'

Comparing Venezuela to any place in the USA is just so wrong.  The "migration" is boomers trying to live on Social Security, finding a cheap place to do it.  Migration=Economic refugees.
Probably a larger percentage of the population of Canada has moved to Ecuador than a percentage of USA population. So what's wrong with Canada?
I do believe many more people come to the USA as immigrants, many more than to Ecuador.
In addition, the ratio of Ecuadorians returning home from the USA is 7 times the number of international expats coming to Ecuador. USA was their land of opportunity.  I would take any state, even North Dakota or Mississippi, before Venezuela, and so would any person who knows anything about freedom and opportunity.
P.S. people who live in Central and South America are also Americans.

pensionado :

Ok, CCC,could substitute Venezuela's name for (you pick) state or city in the US re: violence, corruption, depletion of company pension funds, etc. hence the migration.

I don't have as many facts as Mugtech offered, Pensionado, but I agree with him that the comparison is off.

I have been following the steady daily influx of Ven. flags among Expat.com's new members, as well as the many Ven. posts on Spanish versions of the Blog of folks looking to flee that country.

There's a level of desperation in the Ven. Spanish-language posts unlike anything I've seen or heard from North Americans -- for the reasons explained at the start of this thread.

cccmedia in Quito

Thx mug tech for your response. I admit my guilt: a truly provocative post on my part.
In response to your post
- we are all looking forward to cheaper places to retire. That is why I addressed what I thought was an issue in the US when I mentioned the fact that many companies liquidated/dissolved the hard working folks' pension plans to their own(executives) advantage. So there are many who expect their SS to carry them into a comfortable retirement.
- why do Canadians wish to relocate? Perhaps you have not spent a summer here in Alberia, as we Albertans like to call our province. We like to say our weather is 8 months of winter and 4 months of tough sleddin'....
- be careful of what you say about MS, As a plant manager with my firm in Columbus, MS, for 5 years) I was alarmed at the huge discrepancy between the wealthy and the poor (meaning the blacks)...do not see too many black Americans relocating.
And I was unsure what you comment was regarding Americans living in CA or SA...I guess they Re relocating for the same reasons we wish to do so in such a glorious country as EC...I mean where else are there 100 types of hummingbirds?

I want to make sure that those reading this are aware that My intentions are not vindictive or anti-American. When one leaves their beloved homeland then one needs to have a tad more of an open mind.

Paz y amor

It looks like they'll keep coming. Here's another article, from Foreign Policy, on Venezuela's problems (some of which may be felt, though to a lesser degree, in Ecuador):

http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/08/ven … tsRS12%2F9

pensionado :

- why do Canadians wish to relocate? Perhaps you have not spent a summer here in Alberia, as we Albertans like to call our province. We like to say our weather is 8 months of winter and 4 months of tough sleddin'....

Agreed.  Canada is as boring as it is cold

BobH :

It looks like they'll keep coming. Here's another article, from Foreign Policy, on Venezuela's problems (some of which may be felt, though to a lesser degree, in Ecuador):

http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/08/ven … tsRS12%2F9

And many are predicting the price of oil has not yet hit bottom, and likely to stay low for a while as OPEC tries to price USA shale out of the market.  Can Ven. take another year of a drunken driver with no brakes headed over a cliff?

pensionado :

- we are all looking forward to cheaper places to retire.

Looking for, but not the absolute defining characteristic for many.  I could live cheaper in Ecuador than I do in the USA, but to me it is not worth the cultural changes involved.  Why should I give up living less than 2 miles from Iron Pigs baseball, Phantoms hockey, Musikfest, Levitt Pavilion 3 free concerts a week 5/15 to 9/15 every year.  I even have a casino available plus a free public bus pass that does not include overcrowding and pickpockets.  A $13  150 minute bus ride gets me to NYC and $10 cab gets me on a cruise ship, none of which is available in Ecuador.  And I don't have to learn a new language.  It is very difficult for people 60 and over to learn a new language, not to mention the time and expense involved.  Its the ones who expat to Ecuador mainly because of the money they save that wind up returning.

mugtech :

And many are predicting the price of oil has not yet hit bottom, and likely to stay low for a while as OPEC tries to price USA shale out of the market.

Here's what I don't understand. Maybe someone can enlighten me. It's not very debatable what mugtech said. In fact U.S. oil rigs have just dropped the most in 2 years, or to be more specific U.S. drillers idled the rigs for now. Some companies will go out of business, probably all will cut back on expenditures, including laying employees off, but it's not like they are going away forever. Even if OPEC is successful and chases away the U.S. shale  market for the time being, won't they just jump right back in once prices start to rise again?  The whole OPEC plan just seems shortsighted and flawed to me. What am I missing? Plus if the U.S. really wanted to play hardball, and throw a huge wrench in OPEC's plans couldn't the U.S.  just loosen the rules and start exporting crude?

My wife who is from Panama and goes home once a year says that for some time folks from VZ have been moving to Panama.  Most have money and live quite well.  However, there are culture clashes...  I suspect that the vast majority of Venezuelans stay because they lack the resources to move.  We who are from the USA/Canada/Europe are lucky to have the options to live in other places if we wish.   I would think that most in VZ would be hard pressed to show $800 a month for a retirement visa or $25,000 for a investment visa here in Ecuador.

cccmedia :

according to the non-governmental group Venesuelan Violence Observatory -- a rate of 79 per 100,000, one of the highest murder rates worldwide.  And the local rate in the capital, Caracas, is more than 50 percent higher than that.

Don't know where exactly they've come up with this ridiculous figure of 79 per 100,000, but it's way off. The muder rates by country for 2013 (the last year recorded) show clearly that Venezuela is firmly in second place, indeed. But lets not exaggerate here the murder rate in the country was only 53.7 not the 79 that has been thrown out. Honduras has a murder rate of 90.4 and I'm sure you'd have something to worry about if Hondurans started flowing into Ecuador by the carload.

That said, Ecuador has long been negotiating to become a member country of the Mercosur trading bloc, so why wouldn't the government have a more relaxed approach to Venezuelans taking up residence in the country? After all should they succeed in joining Mercosur there are special provisions in the Treaty that allow much more liberal access and residence in all member nations. So  if you guys think it's bad now, hold onto your hats because the ride's going to get a lot bumpier yet!

Above all else, Venezuela is a South American country so why should everyone be so surprised and frightened by South Americans moving between countries, the continent is THEIRS isn't it? Despite the influx of US citizens to the country I don't believe that they've hoisted the "Stars and Stripes" over the national capital just yet. That day may be coming, who knows? Until then the Venezuelans have exactly the same rights to take up residence in Ecuador as you guys have, don't you think?

And Mexico is a NORTH AMERICAN country, so why should anyone be surprised or frightened that millions come into the USA, another NORTH AMERICAN country, illegally ?  Why would anyone think that all Spanish speaking South American countries are all the same? Really doubt SA going to be like the European Union any time soon.

j600rr :

Even if OPEC is successful and chases away the U.S. shale  market for the time being, won't they just jump right back in once prices start to rise again?  The whole OPEC plan just seems shortsighted and flawed to me. What am I missing? Plus if the U.S. really wanted to play hardball, and throw a huge wrench in OPEC's plans couldn't the U.S.  just loosen the rules and start exporting crude?

I agree the Saudis in particular are shortsighted and flawed.
Even at their current rate of extraction they will have plenty of oil for many years
Perhaps they see the handwriting on the wall concerning other forms of energy.
Perhaps they decided the demand will drop 20 years from now, might as well sell what they can.
Will everyone be driving electric cars and using the sun for electricity?
USA still wants plenty of oil reserves, always fighting the last war, not the next one.

ok, mugtech
cheap shot about the boring part, trust you have never visited...or watched hockey or ever played our national sport, lacrosse. Maybe a dose of bannock and beans would set ya straight.
peace out

James :

Don't know where exactly they've come up with this ridiculous figure of 79 per 100,000, but it's way off. The muder rates by country for 2013 (the last year recorded) show clearly that Venezuela is firmly in second place, indeed[

Reported by what entity?  Where did the NGO get their VZ statistics?

Those are the latest figures available on Wikipedia (the same source cccmedia is using for his information), which is usually pretty on top of things and is constantly updated. A quick Google search of "murder rates by country" gets all kinds of hits and the numbers are almost all exactly the same. Figures show lots of interesting facts.

Like for instance, according to NBC News there are somewhere between 10-15,000 US citizens now living in Ecuador, of those some 7,000 in Cuenca (as of May, 2013). The 2014 population of Ecuador was 16,041,169

So even taking the full 15,000 as accurate the Americans represent exactly 0.093509 percent of the overall population. How many of them are actually naturalized citizens I don't know, but likely very few.

Does anybody there really think that Correa and his government are going to slam the doors shut on the rest of South America to cater to less than 1% of the population, especially given that most of them are non-citizens? That's really what I would call wishful thinking.

Comparing the situation in Ecuador to that of USA/Mexico as far as immigration goes is laughable too, given that the population of Mexico is over 113 million (almost 10 times that of EC) and the USA population is 319,423,660 at this very second according to the US Census Bureau population clock. Of course the immigration problem is going to be much greater there.

Funny how it goes, back home you guys want the doors slammed shut and the walls built up. You move away to another country and want the same thing done there too. Go figure.

mugtech :
pensionado :

- we are all looking forward to cheaper places to retire.

Looking for, but not the absolute defining characteristic for many.

Good point. I tried the Philippines first. It's really cheap living there, but I hated it. Then Ecuador -- not quite so cheap, but loved it. Each of us has different circumstances, of course. Perhaps if I had to make do on a bit less, I would have just sucked it up and stayed in Cebu.

j600rr :

Some [shale] companies will go out of business, probably all will cut back on expenditures, including laying employees off, but it's not like they are going away forever. Even if OPEC is successful and chases away the U.S. shale  market for the time being, won't they just jump right back in once prices start to rise again?

I agree. When prices rise again (and they will), the shale companies will be back, with the knowledge that the technology is proven.

Of course, there will be a delay, a ramp-up period, during which OPEC can make big bucks, and maybe that's all the Saudis want. (Shrug) I admit I don't understand it.

But in the meantime, the small fry among OPEC (like Ecuador), and even the medium fry (Venezuela) will be hurt.

pensionado :

- we are all looking forward to cheaper places to retire.f

Bang on target pensionado! Since all indicators are that those who are going to make the leap from Venezuela are of exactly the same ilk as the Americans who have been flocking to Ecuador for years now. So why shouldn't they come and be welcome? Maybe Correa SHOULD shut the doors, for everybody, including those from the USA. Whould that be satisfactory???

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