No Visa Required

Left: Hugo Chavez – President Venezuela  * Right: Rafael Correa – President Ecuador

The Immigrant Problem
They’re easy to pick out: new white tennis shoes, dark jeans, and brand-names on T-shirts. Some flood into the country seeking jobs. Some are waiting for smugglers to take them to other destinations.

Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, dropped all requirements for entry visas from 130 countries on June, 20, 2008. Since then, Quito has become the world staging area for for human smuggling.

Most immigrants come from Cuba, China, Iran, and African. Once they reach Ecuador, many continue on to Panama, Columbia or Peru – eventually arriving in Mexico. From there, they hook up with coyotes who guide them across the border into the US.

Since 2008, “Chinese tourism” to Ecuador has increased by more than 500 percent. The objective of those “tourists” is to use Ecuador as a stopover to the United States.

According to an article in El Universo, Chinese organized crime networks were the first to take advantage of the open door to South America. They charge each individual up to US$70,000 for the trip from China to the US.

The Chinese may have the foothold at the moment, but smugglers from 129 other countries will follow. At that point Ecuador may try to rescind the visa policy – but then, the law of unintended consequences may not allow that to happen.

In the meantime, enjoy Ecuadorian jazz guitarist, Fabian Carrera, play Vetas de Caoba: