About twelve years ago, it was pretty common to hear that someone´s parents, siblings, cousins or children had moved to Spain. Yes, Ecuadorian families were moving like little ants to Europe-Italy and the United States. But Spain became the main target for Ecuadorian immigration, especially due to the fact that the official language is Spanish. The reasons for this massive exodus go from the particularly difficult economic crisis at the beginning of the 21th century, poverty, corruption and unemployment.
Although in recent years this situation is changing, unfortunately, traditional education has not been guaranteed in Ecuador. On the contrary, getting an education in Ecuador has been a privilege for those who have the means to afford it. Indeed, Ecuadorian families moved to unknown lands seeking to ensure a brighter and more fruitful future for their children. Often families would send money from far away to help their relatives who stayed home. On the other hand, not all Ecuadorians travel with legal documentation.
As many other Latin American citizens, Ecuadorians also try to “cross the border” illegally and many die in their arduous attempts. These attempts include tragic outcomes such as shipwrecks, dehydration, dealing with the mistreatment and abuse of the “coyoteros” and actually getting caught, sent to prison and eventually, deported to their own countries. The “coyoteros” are smugglers who help the illegal immigrant to cross the border without getting caught. This involves big amounts of money, inhumane conditions and mistreats, shams and failed attempts.
How has immigration shaped our country? Historically, apart from the Spanish who conquered what is now called Ecuador, there have been many other immigrants from all over the world. There is a significant Asian comunity, as well as German, Italian, French and Russian. Recently, due to the crisis in Spain, many Spanish professionals are looking for jobs in Ecuador. Also, a lot of Ecuadorians who spent a lot of time in Spain are coming back. The advantages of this phenomenon are that Ecuador is becoming more cosmopolitan, and hopefully, more open to diversity, both in cultural and religious aspects. The current Ecuadorian government has invested in health and education and this is definitely going to make a significant difference in our future and the way we see ourselves.
(Calle 13, band from Puerto Rico) In order to understand Latin American identity, this video may help:
(Calle 13) A song dedicated to all Latin American immigrants