Are American Retirees Welcomed In Ecuador?

“Kathleen, the question I have is a political one relating to how U.S. Americans are welcomed in Ecuador, especially U.S. Hispanics. I’m asking because of Ecuador’s president’s penchant for anti-U.S. rhetoric.

“Although Ecuador appears inviting, I don’t want to visit there only to find out what I suspected. I don’t have unlimited resources to travel everywhere to see if I like it or not. I need to target my destination very carefully.

“I want to know if President Correa’s negative rhetoric is taken seriously by Ecuador’s people in a general way.”

–Domingo U., United States

Latin American Correspondent Lee Harrison, who lived in Ecuador for four years, responds:

In my experience, Americans are welcomed in Ecuador on an equal basis. I saw no evidence of ill-will toward Americans that was based on race or ethnicity.

One exception might be Ecuadorians/Latinos of indigenous descent. One form of racial prejudice that Ecuadorians maintain is discrimination against their Native Americans (North American Native Americans have no problem). If your name has Inca or Quichua roots, for example, it will be harder to be accepted, in my opinion.

That said, you really have to go and check it out for yourself. Spending at least a little time in a country yourself is mandatory to know if you’ll like the place, and it’s really the only way to gauge any perceived prejudice. As I’ve told many black, Jewish, gay, and lesbian readers who’ve asked, advice to them from a straight white guy is of only so much value.

I made many Ecuadorian friends while living in that country, and I’d say that Ecuadorians think for themselves and come to conclusions and positions based on their own experience. I don’t think they’d ever form an opinion about anything based on presidential rhetoric.

Acceptance Of American Retirees In Ecuador

“Kathleen, I’d like to submit my opinion in answer to Domingo’s question about Ecuador. My husband and I have lived in rural northern Ecuador for three years and have been nothing but welcomed by the Ecuadorian people of all social statuses.

“There are social differences here, and, like Lee Harrison says, if your name sounds Quichua, there may be prejudice from the upper classes.

“As far as President Correa and his rhetoric goes, I hear more negative about the man than any positive. It seems to me that most Ecuadorians pay no attention to what’s going on in the outside world and what Correa may say.

“On the other hand, just like anywhere, there can be ugly people. But if the expat acts friendly and doesn’t come across with the ‘I know better than you’ attitude and doesn’t try to throw his weight and money around, the expat is greeted with a smile and a buenos dias.

“Also, realize that the Ecuadorian people have a different outlook on life than North Americans. They are much more interested in families than the almighty dollar, and if you show interest in their children, you will be treated with love and affection.”

–Carol B., Ecuador

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