Expat Life

Call to all Cuenca gringos: Time for a hard, honest look in the mirror

By Ernie Millard

When traveling to Ecuador tourists are usually satisfied with their superficial experiences with the people and their destinations. However, when relocating, and becoming a resident here, the discrepancy between the exquisite scenery and landscapes, and the brutal living conditions, and poverty of their local surrounding neighbors becomes a stark reality. New residents quickly discover their former lifestyle focused on consumption and leisure patterns does not fit. Obvious linguistic, racial, cultural, and socio-economic disparities very quickly become problematic.

As the most educated, well-traveled, and adventurous generation in history, a growing number of retirement-aged Americans, Europeans, and Canadians are voluntarily surrendering their rooted identities, and physical ties to a stable home and community for a new beginning in a truly foreign and far away place.

Expats meeting with U.S. embassy officials.

Initially, this population group provided a tremendous boost to world economic growth. However, these folks now no longer contribute to the economy with  direct production; they have significantly reduced their spending; significantly increased their dependence on others — their children, and government for entitlements and health care costs. This indisputable demographic wave has had profound economic consequences for their new country — Ecuador. As newly transplanted folks we have brought and placed significant and unrealistic expectations, causing strains on Ecuador’s infrastructure systems, and with aging retirees with declining health, on their health care systems.

Within this tidal wave of retiring baby boomers, global economic inequality has created a smaller trend known as “amenity migration,” which can be defined as people living in a place, and altering it, without ever engaging in the new culture, or even considering how their choices affect people who already live there. Characterized by retirees from the developed “North” moving to the developing “South” in search of the preferred amenities of climate, tropical landscapes, lower living costs, and a gentler pace of life.

We are repeating previous colonial practices by visioning the new habitat as an empty place that migrants can inhabit, and alter at will, without having to concern themselves about the desires, aspirations or needs of those already living there. It is the northern perception of power and wealth that continues to exploit a system that takes advantage of local poverty. “I’m making a living on the U.S. economy and living on the Ecuadorian economy. It’s a great formula,” says one migrant. Do we foreigners who choose to retire in other countries realize the negative economic, social, and environmental impacts of our presence? Do we care?

The municipality of Cuenca, Ecuador’s colonial jewel, has chosen to take a pro-active role in assisting and integrating their foreign residents. A survey of 700 foreign residents was undertaken and the results is currently being analyzed. This past week, in a meeting with Cuenca city officials, it has again been reinforced that there is growing concern, suspicion, and a backlash of resentment among Ecuadorians toward the gringos carrying  an “unconscious privileged entitlement” where they seem to be above the law, and separate themselves from local life’s grind against poverty. This bothers me a lot and I do not want to be included in this “branding.” Over the last nine years, as new residents in Ecuador, we have worked very hard to integrate into our new culture. Honestly, we have never understood the desire to move to a foreign country, bringing all your worldly possessions, and surrounding yourself with people, language, and culture that you left behind. You miss out entirely on the new adventure!

Although our gringo population numbers are declining, the increasing resentment among Ecuadorians stems from the following identified concerns:

i.) Chronically ill, aging, and declining health gringos availing themselves of, and abusing the inadequately resourced medical care systems, and  increasing pressures from health and dental tourism. After many years of concerned discussions, the new Ley Orgánica de Movilidad Humana addresses this issue and now requires all foreign visitors and immigrants to have their own medical insurance coverage.

ii.) Gringos banding together in linguistic isolation, lording their privileged entitlement and wealth over the locals, and assimilation with their new community is often superficial. Their interaction with locals is limited to required services, transactional exchanges for menial labor services, groceries, or fruit and vegetables etc.

iii.) Gringos with large homes with extra bedrooms, rental apartments, or informal bed and breakfast establishments catering to guests without complying with municipal regulations, licensing, and evading taxes, competing unfairly in with localr hospitality industry establishments. With the success of internet sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, Vacationrentals, Hometogo this is a worldwide issue for the hospitality industry.

iv.)  Gringos establishing hobbies, trades services, smuggling goods, or operating other businesses to earn extra income without complying with municipal regulations, licensing, and evading taxes, again, competing unfairly with local service providers.

v.)  Gringos providing informal tours — mercado, day excursions, country orientation, or real estate tours, etc. — without appropriate credentials and evading tax laws, competing with local tour providers and travel agencies.

vi.) Unlicensed gringos selling real estate and evading tax laws.

vii.) Gringo developments not complying with municipal regulations, licensing, and evading tax laws, directly enhancing their wealth by exploiting local poverty and foreigner’s ignorance.

viii.) Bewilderment as to why gringos leave their families, support networks, language and familiar culture behind.

ix.) Tercera edad gringos availing themselves “righteously” of the IVA rebate system which was established to “soften” life’s basic expenses for those retired Ecuadorians who have religiously contributed taxes for their entire working lives. For those luxury items gringos acquire and request a tax rebate — there has been a tightening of restrictions, along with active discussions about eliminating foreigners eligibility to collect any rebate as they have never contributed taxes.

x.) “Trapped, economic refugee” gringos who are obsessed with prices, resist adaptation, and continue to stay here in spite of their growing misery. Anyone whom they have contact with is made aware of how unhappy they are.

As current or future foreign residents we should realize that levels of resentment towards us are continuing to grow. Due to all of the above reasons we are increasingly seen as ignorant, arrogant, and culturally disrespectful — “ugly gringos”. Richard Ingle, Dr Lee Dubs, Deke Castleman, David Morrill and Liam Higgins, have written recent articles on this website documenting similar concerns.

To ensure we foreigners remain welcome in this country, I ask my fellow gringos to please look in the mirror. If you fall into one of these groups mentioned above, perhaps naively unaware, even if your revenue activity is a “hobby” please make sure you are aware of your business requirements and obligations to ensure your compliance. Think about your impact on others in the local community. Just as if you are caught speeding in an automobile on a public highway — ignorance of the speed limit and of the law is no excuse! If you are a regular patron of a “gringo owned” businesses please help us by ensuring they are aware and compliant with their obligations. If they are blatant in continuing their non-compliance, it is time to take a stand and withdraw your support of their business.

Please, we need to collectively ensure that we eliminate this perception that gringos are only here to “milk public services” without paying for them and are “entitled” or even worse, “white collar criminals”.

Let’s qualify as valued immigrants, be proud to be here, pay our tax obligations, and respect their laws. Leading by example with honesty and integrity, integrating with our new culture and providing creative solutions where possible. There are several excellent examples:  some gringo expats living here alone have taken the initiative and established their own support group / network to assist each other. They have prepared in advance for events such as illness or death. Several cultural and language exchanges are available, and many Ecuadorian seniors are most interested in our active lives, and previous travel and life experiences.

__________________

Ernie Millard is a seasoned professional with over 28 years experience in Canadian post secondary education. Along with his wife, he has lived in Ecuador for nine years both on the coast and in Cuenca, and enjoys traveling throughout Ecuador and Latin America. Their challenges here have included a variety of projects providing synergy in education; student exchange programs; community tourism; healthcare; rebuilding family homes destroyed after the earthquake; and helping people rediscover and enrich their lives with purpose, integrity and compassion, embracing global and cultural diversity, and harmony with nature. It has taken a while, but he now clearly realize that it’s not how you spend your money that counts, IT’S HOW YOU SPEND YOUR LIFE!

  • Ellis Nelson

    This is another example of the “expat police” telling other expats how they should live. I agree with you, Ernie, that foreigners should obey the law but you mix up what is legal with what is not.

    Two examples. It is perfectly legal for foreigners over 65 to take the VAT refund, since they are only getting back the tax that they paid, not stealing from impoverished campesinos. Also, licensing is not required in Ecuador to sell real estate (the law was changed in 2008).

    I don’t know of any expats who abuse the health care system (I assume you mean abusers who go to the public hospital emergency room). Everyone I know pays out of pocket or through private or public (IESS) insurance.

    Moralizing is fine, but please understand it’s only one person’s opinion and not a matter of law. And as far as the locals being resentful of gringos, I talked to the mayor last week and he told me he hears very little of it and that it is mostly an issue with other gringos. Go figure.

    • ecexplorer

      The mayor has told me the same thing. Then, other city officials have told me that privately he has real concerns. He is an elected official, we can all vote (after 5 years), and he is well aware of that. What did you expect him to tell you?

      • Ricki

        At least we do not rob anyone. If they do not want us and our money, we can move as many are!!!!

        • jjjhein

          Yeah, go back to podunk, arkansas and enjoy life under the rule of the Orange SubHumanoid from Maralago and the rest of his ignorant cadre.

        • Globetrotter

          Moving would be a wonderful thing in many cases. There are many ways of robbing a nation.

    • Ricki

      Yes,;gringos are the most critical.

    • Globetrotter

      I have been here for many years. I am grateful for Ecuador. Lovely place. I have never asked for sales tax back, though I could. After all, this country needs money to pay its bills. It is a sad thing to demand back reimbursements targeted at the Ecuadorian aged and needy.

      But poorer people scramble for every leg up they can get. Look how the USA and UK are throwing that type out..regardless of the tragic consequences.

      I just hope that the takers amongst us don’t give the entire expat community a bad name. I know the local health insurance companies have been shocked and hurt by the average American expat state of health.

  • Nat Goodale

    While there is truth in the article, and there is an enclave of expats that exhibits these distasteful attributes, I find that the generalizations trend more for open acceptance and support from the local community. My well-off Ecuadorian friends, as well as my campesino neighbors, express their warmth and welcome and respect for us who assimilate, bringing good things to Ecuador and contributing
    to the positiveness in the country.

  • Michael Brady

    A wonderful article – I hope readers take time to reflect on the content. I have recently arrived from London with my young family and in only 5 weeks noticed the arrogance and solitude of many Gringos and must confess, I am disappointed. The people and culture must be embraced and we should be grateful for what we have in life. As humans we should focus more on what we can offer to others around us as opposed to just taking what we can to better our own lives.

    • Globetrotter

      Not to worry Michael. StillWatching and his type carry impossibly arrogant chips on their shoulders and invariably embrace American dogma (of one flavor or another). But they are leaving or isolating themselves, being replaced by a completely different demographic.

      That being said, sociologists are right in stating that it takes 20 years+ training to become a part of a culture FROM BIRTH. So we cannot get rid of ours if we tried. The goal is to meld your best with their best to benefit both.

  • zoltan strigan

    Great article!! I have lived here for 25 years, and have “learned to stay away” from most of these expat types mentioned here. The majority will not assimilate and believe they are a privileged race.
    The majority refuse to learn the language or embrace the culture. As an immigrant to Canada in the 50’s, I remember very clearly people telling my parents they had to learn English, and they did.

    If you want to live in a different culture, no matter your age, you have to be part of the culture, accept that there differences, work with your community to improve their lives and offer help where you can.

    Instead of spending your days in the local bar or restaurant, hanging out with the other gringlandia crowd, get involved. There are several church groups and charities in Ecuador that need help, start there.

    If you can’t accept change, than you should go back to where you are more confortable.

  • Juts Liek

    Please excuse me for not going into a detailed analysis. I’ll hit a couple of points.

    1) If you have knowledge of people violating the law, please turn them in immediately. I mean you yourself, Mr Millard.

    2) It looks like a lot of what you say is related to an unprepared government.

    I’ve stayed at two hostals on Hermano Miguel (across the street from one another, and operated by sisters as it turns out, Ecuadorians) that have both indicated that they do not pay the taxes that they owe. This, for example, isn’t a gringo problem.

    I’m glad to contribute spare money here and there. How about posting some information on how people like me can help?

    Aside from that, I’d be glad to see the government raise the “admission fee”. How about going from a required minimum income of $800 a month per person to $1500 a month? How about $2500? This would sweep off the table a lot of the issues you mention, but it’s in the realm of government policy. They get what they ask for.

    I for one don’t take advantage of the 12.5-cent bus rate. I walk everywhere. I don’t look for an IVA refund. Screw that. I’m not a cheapass. I don’t need to count every penny, and anyway I’m a guest here. I’m grateful. I leave tips. I say “please” and “thank you”. I step into the street so others don’t have to.

    I don’t have a huge income (SSA + pension, no moonlighting), but I’m going to die soon anyway, and as long as I have enough to get by on, month to month, the rest is gravy. Might as well share it.

    I do have trouble communicating because I can’t hear much. I’ll never be conversational in Spanish no matter how hard I try, but I do try to do good. At Christmastime I spent close to $90 on high-end chocolates and gave out gifts to everyone I deal with, including the woman I buy bread from. She smiled. She’s still smiling.

    Is it much? Is it a lot? Am I making a difference? No. I can do more. How about some ideas?

  • Jose Heinert

    Maybe it’s time for Ecuador to “build a wall” to keep the gringos out. And have the orange, demented-imbecile in the white house pay for it?

    • sueb4bs

      si, puede ser…especialmente la parte del naranja embecile… lousy Spanish, sorry.

    • sophie

      yea…maybe?

  • lorenzo

    The older we get, the more health care we generally need. If I were an Ecuadorian, living in Ecuador my entire life, I would resent elderly foreigners coming to my country with the primary purpose of living cheap and sponging off my country’s health care system.
    Up to now it’s been fair game. But I’m glad to see immigration laws changing. The health care systems also need to change in our home countries so that old folks aren’t enticed to move just for that reason. If this is the main reason that you come to live in Ecuador, you’ll probably end up as a semi-healthy old grump.

    • sophie

      well said.

    • Globetrotter

      Actually, outside of Americans, all expats come to Ecuador from countries where health care and any medical procedure or need is free. Were you aware?

      Additionally, our state of health is much better than the international average.

      We must sacrifice all that, along with many pension perks, to make a life here permanently. Sadly, we all get lumped in with the largest expat group. And it is their health state and their demands that set the quality of the local welcome along with OUR insurance premiums.

  • Frank Lee

    This gringo doesn’t patronize gringo owned businesses and/or businesses that market to gringos which describes almost all of your advertisers.

    • Carol Babin

      Really Frank? Even those Gringo owned businesses that gainfully employ Ecuadorians? And pay them according to all the laws? As well as pay all their taxes? As well as help out their families financially when needed? And go above and beyond of what is ‘required by law’? There is a lot of assumptions being made here and there is a lot you don’t know.

  • jeff long

    Excellent article gringos are guest in Equador and it up to them to adapt and adjust. As far as expecting any tax rebates that is terrible you did not pay taxes here all your life. The only tax you have to pay is the sales tax in order to live in this beautiful country.

    • cuenca guy

      Your not paying attention! The tax we can get back oi IVA and we do allpay that. BUt you have to be over 65 as the constitution says. It is not a law but a constituional right.

    • Globetrotter

      I agree. Claiming back Ecuadorian IVA (sales tax) is a pathetic expat loophole. I do not do it.

      I can tell the difference between a trick that invariably leads to trouble and local animosity and a “constitutional right” designed to care for the elderly, (a part of Ecuadorian culture and custom for centuries).

      In our former homes, our old age is/was protected by pensions, funded by the taxes we paid our entire working lives. If we are now going to take from Ecuador, why not donate those pensions to Ecuador for the IVA reimbursement? Why grab both?

  • Geraldine Matus

    Thank you for inviting us expats to be mindful of how tending only to our own needs and desires we become unaware of our impact on other people and cultures. The art of a harmonious world culture requires that we overcome our narcissism. It’s definitely much more than just about the laws, though that’s a good start.

    • KimberSterling

      I’m still in the U.S. but generally took the article as you did…a good reminder that resentment is possible, if not likely, and to do what one can to mitigate it. I can only imagine how immigrants from, say, Mexico would be treated if they all came to the U.S. rich and expected us to work for them. It’s quite the opposite and we still seem unwilling to tolerate their presence.

  • Galileo

    This sounds like an article on how to be “PC” and how to behave. Thanks for writing the article but I am not buying in on this mentality. The society here is not a bunch of backward hillbillies that need protecting from the mighty Gringo. If you get out of line you will be checked.
    As for being “PC” the world seems to be trending away from this kind of thinking. Those of you that have plenty and want to can send your extra money and benefits back to the socialist government here can send the money to SRI, Remigio Crespo, Cuenca Ecuador. I am sure they will get it to the proper entity.

  • Nancy Goodman

    Nancy Goodman
    I agree with Nat. I think this article generalizes all expats. We have what we consider our Ecuadorian family here and have been coming back and forth since 1984. We pay for our health insurance here and it is not a free ride. Our choice was to live among Ecuadorians so that we could learn their language and their culture. The expat friends we know have volunteered for various nonprofit groups here. Our Ecuadorian friends here certainly do not feel as if we are a burden. Yes, there are a few who probably do, but please do not assume we all came here to take advantage of people. That is unfair and could not be further from the truth.

    • ecexplorer

      The author is not putting everyone in the same basket. He says, IF you are one of those then reconsider your actions.

      It is true that those that make an effort to understand and participate in the local culture are not the targets of this article. However, my experience here over the years is that the “minority” that he is speaking of is a growing one and becoming much more visible. Quite likely as a result of the famous magazine that promotes the idea that Ecuador is a lawless frontier where you can do whatever you want with no consequences.

      • Ricki

        Who the hell is he period to judge? This is right wing crazy. We came,:we can leave if they do not want us.

      • Ricki

        Who is he to judge? We are all free spirited. We do not put any of us in one basket. This is a very insulting article. Many Ecuadorians have become wealthy from new residents, especially attorneys, and realtors whom all pay high taxes. Many expats are leaving here, this article just pushes more buttons.

  • Carlos Iglesias

    Something I think is funny is that gringos like to tell other gringos what Cuencanos think about them.

    Here is what Cuencanos think about extranjeros, not just gringos. There are about 3.000 Colombianos in Cuenca and maybe 2.000 from Venezuela. Many of these people are poor and they need services like medical. If you go to the Vicente Corral hospital, which is what gringos call a charity hospital, many of those who wait there for services are foreigners but you see almost no gringos since they are able to pay for their medical and go somewhere else.

    Cuencanos also worry about the Peruvians since they commit a big percentage of robberies in the city.

    Yes we talk about the gringos and we don’t like the “ugly” gringos. But please understand that gringos are a very small problem compared to the refugees from Colombia and Venezuela. Lets keep this is perspective.

    • Kaye Sturgis

      Thank you. My husband and I sincerely love so very much about Ecuador. The people we know, who are gringos do have great respect for Ecuadorians and love their culture and language and want to learn more about it. We are all learning continuously. The Ecuadorians we have met are just wonderful, warm, friendly and helpful.It naturally causes us to want to meet more, and have deeper friendships as we learn the language and culture more. I am so very grateful we fell into good company when we arrived, and that this continues. Good manners are useful wherever they show up. People who behave badly and are negative tend to take that wherever they go. Real change comes from within.

  • George Fedyna

    Nat I quite agree with you and I have found this article by Millard to be a slap in the face to a gringo like me who loves Ecuador and the wonderful people of Ecuador. I abide by the rules and since I have my Cedula I consider myself to now be an Ecuadorian as well.

    • ecexplorer

      Don’t take it personally. He is quite clear that if “shoe doesn’t fit” it isn’t about you.

      Unfortunately you’ll likely pay the price for the arrogance of “those” though.

    • Ricki

      Agree, it is so mean spirited.

    • Nancy

      Nancy Goodman

  • BDev

    Difficult to know where to begin with a response to this article.
    I suppose the primary point is that all people – all individuals and all cultures – operate at different levels of consciousness. By that I mean different values, goals, operating morals and ethics, political understandings, and so on. OF COURSE there will be dramatic differences in personal views, tribal views, cultural views, world views. You, nor anyone else, will shoehorn people into one way of seeing things and acting on it. (http://www.spiral-dynamics.com/pdf_resources/SD_MiniCourse_H.pdf)
    Next, government laws, regulations, edicts, demands and all that are, by default, regressive, anti-freedom and driven by low consciousness control freaks called politicians. To expect intelligent people to cast away their own moral and ethical principles in order to coercively comply with regressive laws and regs, is never going to happen… no matter what country we are talking about. People the world over, naturally and properly, will always avoid and ignore stupid laws and regs. Anyone who mindlessly complies with regressive laws and regs is foolish, at best.
    Next… well, that’s enough for now. Other things to do…

    • StillWatching

      Frédéric, Ludwig and I are proud of you.

  • Caroline

    Great article. I applaud you. I am saddened by the deffensive response in the comments. I am completely inmersed in the Ecuadorian culture and community (in my late 20s married to an Ecuadorian) and can say what you are stating is true. We all need to take a hard look at ourselves and our behavior and work on contributing to the community.

    • sophie

      excellent point.

  • Lars

    I take great offense from this article. I am not one of the ugly gringos characterized in the article, none of my gringo friends are like this, and all of the Ecuadorians that I know (and there are many, from all levels of the economic spectrum) respect us and are happy about our presence here in Ecuador.
    I contribute greatly to the local economy. I bought a house several years ago, I pay my taxes on time, I have my own private health insurance policy, I speak fluent Spanish, I give great tips to anyone who serves me in any capacity, and I help our maid by giving her extra money, buying school uniforms for her children, etc. I also hire local Cuencanos whenever I need a plumber, electrician or any other type of service provider.
    Don’t generalize and paint gringos with a broad brush of negativity. The vast majority of us are good people who care about others, are thankful to be here in Ecuador, and do a lot to help improve the local economy.
    Also, the vast majority of gringos are LEGAL immigrants, who have gone through the bureaucratic nightmare that is required in order to be “legal”, unlike the millions of Hispanics who emigrate to North America illegally. We deserve a pat on the back for doing things right, not a slap in the face from arrogant, liberal university professors.

    • Ed

      Lars…….You took the 233 words right out of my mouth……Ed

    • StillWatching

      Well said and well written Lars. Excellent English this time. I applaud your effort.

    • BlueBloodedAmerican

      Rock star.

    • John

      It looks to me like all of your interactions with Ecuadorians is with your hired help. Typical arrogant right winger.

    • Julie

      Hey look, Lars! They’re talking about YOU!

      “lording their privileged entitlement and wealth over the locals, and
      assimilation with their new community is often superficial. Their
      interaction with locals is limited to required services, transactional
      exchanges for menial labor services, groceries, or fruit and vegetables
      etc.”

      • glearand

        I am not from the US. I am social phobic. My interactions with locals in my native country was “limited to required services, transactional
        exchanges for menial labor services, groceries, or fruit and vegetables
        etc.” Needless to say nothing has changed after I moved to Ecuador. Am I still “ugly gringo” to you? Should I force myself to change anything in my life just to please some PC individuals?

        • StillWatching

          Nope

    • Globetrotter

      Lars, No one is suggesting that some American immigrants are not better than others. But you are American and that means attitudes that are harmful to others.

      For example, you feel that buying a house rather than building one does something beyond merely raising house prices and hurting native home owner hopefuls.

      You think that adding a demographic with a low state of health helps premium calculation for the rest of us.

      You come from a culture that has harshly exploited Latin America for centuries and then complain that its citizens try to escape the resultant oppression “illegally”.

      You have an inexplicable distrust and contempt for learning..another expression of bigotry.

      You slot and label people who disagree with you, an expression of an intolerance that hurts humanity.

      Do you imagine that your presence is a gift?

      • StillWatching

        Got it, Lars? Take a lesson from a self righteous socialist like Julius Talbot. Like all self righteous canadians, he’ll tell you just how to think and behave.

        Lars, you are a horrible American. Repent or perish.

        • Globetrotter

          (giggle) A true trumpian response! Go back home where you belong.

          • StillWatching

            What a brilliant response. Did you have help with that?

  • BlueBloodedAmerican

    And if this article had been written about how immigrants in America should adapt in the same manner, the writer would’ve been termed, an “orange, demented-imbecile” supporter. The only system where it’s ok to be a sponge is the American one.

    That being said, I’m still retiring to Cuenca, will speak Spanish as much as I can learn, and will avoid the gringos such as this writer and also those described in this article.

    • StillWatching

      Cogent observations. There is hypocrisy everywhere. I suggest you also avoid the “We are guests in their country” crowd, lest you become one of them. Make Ecuador your country as much as any other legal resident and you’ll never have to be an apologist for yourself or other gringos.

    • BDev

      Oh my, you’ve got that right! If this guy Ernie were to make this speech in the USA, on most any college campus, he’d probably be stoned to death.

      • BlueBloodedAmerican

        Oh, I think we should ask Ernie if he believes this should also be how immigrants should assimilate in the USA? Ernie? Ernie?

        • StillWatching

          Notice the deafening silence from Ernie?

  • Erika Keira

    Hello, I know I am off topic and I apologize but I have no other choice to contact you. Zoltan is a typical Hungarian name. Are you by any chance Hungarian? If yes please contact me and let’s get together. I am from Budapest and I know other Hungarians in the area. My email is premier1team@gmail.com Erika

    • StillWatching

      Erika, there is no need to apologize for any of your posts. Don’t yield to the P.C. Police that feel that they have the right to control these comment threads by dictating your comport.

      You are a bon vivant and are very endearing to most of us. If you continue to be just as you are, that will be fine for most of us. Screw the others.

      • Erika Keira

        Thank you!

  • Richard

    I agree with some of what you wrote, but not all. I agree that Expats should try to learn Spanish and assimilate into Ecuadorian culture. We must be mindful that while this is now our home, we are still resident/guests and, in most cases, not citizens of Ecuador. As legal residents we should be able to take advantage of whatever Ecuador offers under the law, be it healthcare, IVA tax refunds, etc., until such time as Ecuador changes the law. Yes, a less expensive cost of living and affordable healthcare are factors for many Expats choosing to move here. However, I don’t see us as a drain on services. We account for an incredibly small portion of the total population and by my estimates pump around $250 million dollars into the Ecuadorian economy nationwide, probably more. Ecuadorians have greatly benefited by this influx of money. In my opinion, it is the Ecuadorians who have, in the last several years, been taking advantage by the influx of Expats, as witnessed by the tremendous increase in housing costs. They have gotten greedy and this has hurt Expats and Ecuadorians alike. I have lived here for four years and I don’t know any Expats that have used Public Health. Every Expat I know is on IESS, private insurance or pays out of their own pocket for health services and medications. I personally have paid out over $4,300 for medical emergencies to Hospital Santa Inez and Doctors. I have an A type personality and have, on occasion, lost my temper with the way things are done here. It’s often very illogical. But keep telling myself to chill out, as this is Ecuador and not the U.S. In the four years that I have lived here, my Spanish has become more conversation and I like being having the able to converse with Cuencano people. In general, I have found them to be honest, warm and very friendly. Rarely has anyone treated me rudely. I do however find the rudeness of Expats, towards each other, on the 3 Expat sites and assume that their behavior is no different with Cuencanos. I personally think that the recent changes to the Immigration Law may result in fewer Expats coming here for tourism as well as residency. A relatively poor country like Ecuador should encourage and not discourage Expats to move here. One last note about free healthcare. You can’t get it unless you have a Cedula, so this whole confusing business about tourists needing healthcare coverage to enter the country is really foolish.

  • nards barley

    I found not one thing persuasive or motivational in your unhinged screed with dubious claims. It belongs in the the trash bin along with those of Lee Dubbs and others.

    • Idea

      Exactly so. And NO substantiations, NO numbers to support those wild, off the wall claims. Mr Trump incarnate

      • StillWatching

        Absolute Bravo, Idea.

  • karen hobbs

    to neighbours and local tienda owners, so I am trying. Gross generalizations are just as disrespectful of us as of Ecuadorans.

    • ecexplorer

      First you say you’re an “economic refugee” and then go on about how much money you inject into the local economy. Which is it?

  • EcuadorH

    I pay ALL TAXES, am COMPLETELY LEGAL with my business, employ 2 full-time employees and pay a higher than average salary and ALL benefits.

    You ERNIE, were a guest at our place and YOU DEMANDED not to pay taxes because you paid in cash.

    (we paid taxes on that anyways, and also commission to booking.com, since everything is registered in our system and we make facturas for every sale)

    We finally gave in, and also gave you every single amenity and service you might dream of.

    And then 2 days later (when you were checking out your earthquake-damaged apartment in Bahia), we received the LOWEST REVIEW WE EVER GOTTEN from you. No text, just low points.

    So, we contacted you and asked if everything was OK, if you had any comments and you replied everything was fine and we deserved at least a 7,5 out of 10 for your 1 day stay (for $30 for 2 people including aircon, big breakfast, tv, queen bed, modern bathroom, etc etc etc).

    You promised to change the review.

    And NEVER DID.

    We contacted you again, via mail, phone, facebook etc. And you simply stopped replying.

    AND NOW THIS * ARTICLE??? WHAT THE *??? ARE YOU COMPLETELY *?

    PLEASE GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE AND BACK DOWN TO EARTH.

    Please be honest and tell about YOUR PERSONAL LIFE and don’t blame others!

    Very VERY VERY VERY few of the things you mentioned are illegal. Actually, none of them are.

    Your points might be valid for ONESELF but you cannot force others to do this. Especially if you are of VERY questionable integrity yourself…

    • StillWatching

      You mean Ernie is a hypocrite? Who would have ever thought that. After all, his self righteous preaching and finger waving was pretty convincing. Maybe you have him confused with some other Ernie Millard. What do you think?

      Thanks for having the courage to write as you have. People like you are a blessing.

    • Greg Caton

      EcuadorH — > thank you for this input on Ernie.
      Well, well, well . . . the hypocrisy never ends, now does it? LOL

      Why is it that those most likely to lecture us are the very ones who feel they’re above the laws themselves?

    • Glenn P Hebert

      Guess Ernie wrote an autobiography. LOL

    • StillWatching

      EcuadorH, did they bully you into removing your post or did you just lose your balls?

  • valentine michael smith ♥

    “we are repeating previous colonial practices…” Exaggerate
    much? Expatriation & colonialism have nothing to do with each other. Well, except that being colonized convinces some
    individuals to pull up stakes, head for someplace less colonial.

    Ask those who sell to the medicaldental tourists about the “pressures.”

    As for subsidized “health care” (please), or anything else, if you build it,
    they will come, alms cups in both hands.

    Like tends strongly to associate with like – it’s what those
    who do that like. “lording” has nothing to do with it. Forced “assimilation”?
    by who’s moral authority? Melting pot points not left to the discretion of
    individuals are just so much authoritarian dictation.

    Regulations, licensing, taxation, “appropriate credentials” –
    all artificial barriers to entry erected to “compete unfairly” by those opposed
    to competition, & by those in the middle taking color of law cuts out of
    the ends.

    “gringo.” No. Earthling. & of the earth,
    too. Not “hosted” by it. You’re looking thru the wrong end of the scope, can’t
    see the parasites for the “frees.” The reason for stranger in a strange land is
    simply this: estranging strangers thou shalting, by force if that’s what it
    takes, as many who are strange to them as they can. compulsive busybodying is
    the true “culture” on this planet. homo sapiens is, mostly, more aptly homo
    genization. With as much pasteurization as necessary to make life on the shelf conformingly
    predictable, & static. lol…there are no bitter clingers, really – just static clingers.

  • Greg Caton

    The columnist may be sincere, but in no way does it comport with my own experience as a permanent resident and businessman in Ecuador. Moreover, I agree with the various commenters below who resent self-appointed expat disciplinarians telling us how to think, act, and view ourselves.

    The fact is . . . I spend MORE in taxes in Ecuador than I ever did running three manufacturing plants in the U.S. I’m not complaining, but it is the truth. As it relates to health services, similar to what other commenters brought up below, I always pay as I go. I would be too afraid to take advantage of FREE medical services, no matter what country I was living in. (Even my friends in Canada avoid socialized medicine there and are more than happy to pay for superior medical services.) If you can’t afford to pay for quality medical care in Ecuador — cheap as it is — than you ARE an “American campesino” living in poverty. And as for the snide comment on medical and dental tourism, do I really need to remind anyone that this is a profit center and not a cost center to the health care community here? Hello?

    I’m sure we’ve got some real free-loaders, and that’s unfortunate, but you have that everywhere you go. How about Obama’s Muslim immigrants, earning an average of over $200,000 per family in services and benefits shortly after getting off the boat? Don’t wanna talk about that? Ok . . . I get it.

    Additionally, Cuenca alone takes in over $90 million per year in expat funds. My family alone has spent several million since we came here in 2007, plus we employ almost a dozen people and support numerous sub-contractors. These contributions to Ecuadorian society are notably left out of this heavily biased article.

    Ernie, my boy . . . maybe you should improve the expat company you keep. If you just hang out with people who are looking to “be on the dole,” then you may end up writing more very narrow-minded, highly partial commentaries just like the one you penned above.

  • LadyMoon

    So negative, so much ‘blaming and shaming.’
    Let’s get a little perspective here from a recent article in CHL:
    The city’s metropolitan population at the end of 2016 stands at 614,000…estimates that ….6,000 (expats) are from the U.S. and Canada…”
    SERIOUSLY? Are we 6,000 raping this country?
    Let’s have an article about the charitable organizations that are providing things like surgeries and education for children…to provide ‘the rest of the story.’

  • StillWatching

    Richard, I’m glad you agree with some of what the author wrote. It’s great to know that and I’m sure the author appreciates your assent and he lives to hear from you.

    However, I am hoping you can clear something up for me. You wrote this: “We must be mindful that while this is now our home, we are still resident/guests and, in most cases, not citizens of Ecuador.” You have left your self an out by using the weasel words, “in most cases” in your claim that most of us expats are guests. You imply that in most cases we always will be guests.

    What I am hoping you will clarify for all of your readers is exactly what criteria does an expat have to meet before he stops being a guest here in Ecuador? Do you have a system of points with a minimum number that has to be achieved before an expat can officially declare himself to no longer have guest status, or is this just something you apply subjectively, making you the arbiter of “guestdom”?

    I have assiduously avoided making this about myself personally, because every time I do, the “we’re a guest in their country” believers disappear and I can never get an answer from them regarding my questions about how one would shed the mantle of “guest”. Please indulge me, Richard, and tell me exactly when and how an expat can qualify as having lost that ignominious title of “guest” that your crowd always seems to view in the pejorative.

    • BDev

      SW – You stop being a ‘guest’ when you stop believing you are one.
      Of course, that won’t fly with most of the expat guests here. They need some govt law or maybe a special red dot on their cedula that says “I’m not a guest anymore!”
      To get that red dot, you’ll have to file several Declarations of Intent, in triplicate, each separately notarized, stamped and fees paid; notarized and apostiled tax returns, bank account statements and criminal records, in both Spanish and Hungarian; along with color copies of your favorite ceviche recipe, signed and dated. Hell, I should be a govt bureaucrat!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKIE3IUkkp8

      • StillWatching

        BDev, by date and your dictum that I stop being a guest here when I stop believing I am one, that occurred about 25 years ago, some minutes after I got off the plane for the first time. I tried explaining this to Sophie in my usual, gentle manner and I hope it registers with her.

        I am adopting a code word that you and I will both use going forward so I can stop using the “we are guests in their country” phrase. Yes, I’m stealing your term and unashamedly so. Henceforth, they will be know as the Red Dot crowd.

        My only lament is that your brilliant humor will be lost on the Red Dotters. All I can think to add is, “Screw ’em”.

    • sophie

      You will never lose it. Is it so bad to be a guest or be a guest who has decided to stay and assimilate..? I wonder how long it takes immigrants now entering America to feel that they aren’t the enemy..forget about the status of ‘guest’ yes you should be grateful that Ecuador is not like America in this way and has welcomed you…

      • StillWatching

        Sophie, as long as you have made this about me personally, I’ll respond in kind. You are full of crap. You are using the possible maltreatment of immigrants in the U.S. as a rationalization why I should be grateful for you and your “we are a guest in THEIR country” cohorts for you insisting that I’m a guest in Ecuador. The ironic thing is that in all of my 25+ years here, I have never been told once that I am a guest in this country by an Ecuadorian. In fact, until the last ten years I never heard it at all, even from you arrogant gringo expats that always feel you should be the arbiter of other people’s comport.

        I am not a guest here whether you and your ilk like it or not. I am an Ecuadorian citizen, not just a legal resident. I speak fluent Spanish and my colleagues often say that I speak better Spanish than any native speakers they know. I have worked and paid taxes here, have voted in every election since the beginning of my “visit” here. I have worked on more charitable boards and organizations than you even are aware exist. I have taught without charge in hospitals and also with street kids who have wanted to learn English. My Ecuadorian wife insists that I not BE a guest here and she won’t hear of it in our house.

        Guest my ass.

        • Jonathon Hanson

          Who knew that I was simply a ”guest” living in the USA for the last thirty years,first as a resident alien,then as a US citizen.

        • sophie

          Only just saw this reply. Well then.
          The article was clearly not directed at someone like yourself…I don’t understand why you react so strongly though…The author points out there are many exceptions…clearly you are one of those…so why freak out…im not a gringo or an expat..but I’m not upset to be thought of as one..

          • StillWatching

            Sophie, apparently my major point evaded you. NO expat who is in this country legally, is a guest here and the author of that hate-filled article seems to think otherwise. Did you notice that the coward didn’t show up to explain or defend any of the beliefs he posted?

            • sophie

              I really didn’t think his article was hate filled though….it was just talking about specific groups of people and I have met some of them, but it doesn’t mean everyone or the majority of immigrants here are like that. I am here legally and I feel like a guest in the sense that I am grateful to be here and to be accepted by Ecuadorian people. Yes it would be interesting to hear his responses to the comments, I agree.

              • StillWatching

                We see things differently and that is probably a reflection of our differing backgrounds. I respect your view, however.

  • StillWatching

    Michael, thank you so much for telling all of us how we must comport ourselves. Speaking for all expats, I’m sorry to read of your disappointment but now that you have set us all straight with these words, I’m sure things will turn for the better: “The people and culture must be embraced and we should be grateful for what we have in life.”

    • edgeof 2

      Oh an expert !

  • William Keyes

    I like many posting are offended at this article especially at the list of assumptions of all the bad things he implies gringos are doing.

    I have a very simple mantra for living here. No matter how long you may have lived here remember this we are guests in this country and first and foremost we must absolutely respect not only their laws but their culture whether we agree with it or like it. Never never say to an Ecuadorian why don’t you do this or that like we do in America? If you don’t like the fact that their culture is different then the US then I suggest you go back to the US. Do not criticize or complain about the way they do things here it’s their culture and their right to how they do things. As far as the medical care is concerned here is my personal story. I suffered a heart attack 31/2 years ago. I went to St Ines got a stent put in stayed 3 days and had a bill of $7600. Not having that amount of money some god Ecuadorian friendspaid the bill on their credit card which was very kind of them and I of course paid them back. However the doctors said I need trilple bypass within 2 months months. So another Ecuadorian friend suggested and helped me get on the public healthcare system which then paid for the balance of the surgery to which I am eternally grateful. The eligibility for this free care is based on wether you are a citizen or permanent resident so since this is the law of their land why is it bad that I took “advantage” of this free health care?

  • Cathy McKay

    Excellent article!! I have traveled throughout most of my life and quite frankly North Americans have long held a reputation for being arrogant and demanding. I have seen it myself and it is an embarrassment. That being said I have also met many many expats here that are diligently trying to adapt and contribute to this wonderful culture. There are good and bad people everywhere but a nice reminder for us to be the good people is appreciated.

  • ecexplorer

    This article is not anti-gringo. The author explicitly said, “If you fall into one of these groups mentioned above,”

    If you’re offended by this article, that tells on you.

    • StillWatching

      “This article is not anti-gringo” But you are anti American and in the most hypocritical, obnoxious and self righteous way possible.

      Stop sacrificing to be here among the hoi polloi. You can go back to canada any time you like

      • Globetrotter

        This (above) is what I meant in my posting to you. You go off with insults and labels at the slightest drop. You reactions are over the top. Are you on some medication or drinking heavily?

  • cuenca guy

    Well Ernie you have been slapped down rather properly for your slanted article. So I will only add that your article totally misses the main point I see and not mentioned by other responders. We are if the 6000 number (for Cuenca) is all gringos is “only” .01 percent of the total population! How can you possibly claim that the other 99.99 percent is being so effected by this small amount???? Math wins!! You may need to go back to the USA and bitch about the new president!! By the way it is not rules or laws for IVA and IESS. It is in the Ecuadorian constitution. The entire constitution applys to even all tourists. Your article flys in the face of the Ecuadorian people and their constitution. Shame on you!!

  • Kenneth A. Merena Ph.D.

    There are 3 kinds of emotional arguments that will never move me to their side. In ascending order of my disdain are those arguments that are supported by anecdotal evidence to make their case, followed by those with no supporting evidence at all. The third kind of argument is one that actually makes up evidence that is demonstrably false and uses it in a futile attempt to make their emotional case. Millard’s article is a mixture of the latter two types of arguments.

    Millard, do tell us where is your evidence to support the following assertions that you make:

    “Obvious linguistic, racial, cultural, and socio-economic disparities very quickly become problematic.”

    “Initially, this population group provided a tremendous boost to world economic growth.”

    “However, these folks now no longer contribute to the economy with direct production; they have significantly reduced their spending; significantly increased their dependence on others — their children, and government for entitlements and health care costs.”

    Then there is this cute little bit of sophistry whereby Millard thinks that by declaring something as indisputable, that makes it so: “This indisputable demographic wave has had profound economic consequences for their new country — Ecuador.”

    Frankly, this is a crock of crap. Anybody capable of applying arithmetic (hell, it’s so simple that calling it “math” would be a disservice) logic and common sense would reject this notion out of hand. The current population of Ecuador is 16,548,865 as of Wednesday, March 8, 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates. http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ecuador-population/ Although estimates about the number of expats living in Ecuador full time vary widely, even being generous the largest estimate I have ever seen says there are ~50,000 expats in the entire country. That means that expats comprise slightly more than 3 tenths of 1% of the entire population. Millard’s own unsupported argument is that many of these expats are financial refugees and such people logically can do little to have any sort of effect on the overall economy. Even if we were to allow Millard to “have it both ways” and say these expats are relatively wealthy, it is difficult to see how such a tiny part of the population could have the large effect that Millard suggests.

    Continuing with claims Millard makes with no reference to facts to support them:

    “As newly transplanted folks we have brought and placed significant and unrealistic expectations, causing strains on Ecuador’s infrastructure systems, and with aging retirees with declining health, on their health care systems.”

    “Within this tidal wave of retiring baby boomers, global economic inequality has created a smaller trend known as “amenity migration,”

    “We are repeating previous colonial practices by visioning the new habitat as an empty place that migrants can inhabit, and alter at will, without having to concern themselves about the desires, aspirations or needs of those already living there.”

    “It is the northern perception of power and wealth that continues to exploit a system that takes advantage of local poverty.”

    These examples of unsupported assertions go on through the entire article, but the more egregious representations are those that are simply false. Examples include these:

    “This past week, in a meeting with Cuenca city officials, it has again been reinforced that there is growing concern, suspicion, and a backlash of resentment among Ecuadorians toward the gringos carrying an “unconscious privileged entitlement” where they seem to be above the law, and separate themselves from local life’s grind against poverty.”

    Balderdash. Not only is that statement contradicted by every published survey I have read on the subject, the author’s own sentence previous to that paragraph says this: “A survey of 700 foreign residents was undertaken and the results is currently being analyzed.” Apparently, Millard is making assumptions based on as yet un-analyzed results. That is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

    Then this: “Although our gringo population numbers are declining, the increasing resentment among Ecuadorians stems from the following identified concerns:” “Increasing resentment”? More opinion stated as fact and contradicted by studies published here in CHL

    Millard seems abused of the idea that if he repeats something enough times, he is lending credibility to the assertion. In that light, he gives us this: “As current or future foreign residents we should realize that levels of resentment towards us are continuing to grow.” To support this, he invokes the names of various people and the only one I can see on his list that actually shares his beliefs is Lee Dubs. Millard doesn’t give us any specifics as to how the others share his concerns, but even if they did, they would still be no more than opinions, not facts.

    I have no idea what Millard’s academic background might be, but as a scientist myself I can tell you that in my field, his entire article would be laughed right out of the gym.

  • zanoni missouri

    if you are familiar with his history, for david morrill to have written any article similar to this is hypocritical of him. conning visitors is not exactly a noble profession. no need to continue, CHL will not post this anyway.

  • Ken

    Ernie – First I’m somewhat insulted by the way you’ve grouped all of us Gringos into one big ugly basket. I won’t cut and paste the 10 – 20 separate descriptions that bother me. They’re obvious.
    And I really wish you would have devoted one paragraph in your takedown of us to all of the Volunteer and Community Organizations that do so much good in Ecuador such as HKIE, Hogar del Esperanza, Proyecto Saman, Ecuador Cares, Hogar Miguel Leon, Susan Burke March’s volunteer childhood obesity initiative, volunteer English teachers, and many many others.

    • StillWatching

      BIG Amen to that, Ken.

    • Idea

      YESSS!!!
      It would be also good, if those moralizers/sermonisers were to give us any justification for their presumably higher moral standing.

      What exactly did they do to flop their angelic wings above us, mere mortals, who do the good we can without taking any credit?

      And where did they find their anecdotal (thanks to Lee Dubs) or totally made up ?

  • Edward A. Konderla

    I found the article interesting and like any good sermon there is always something worthwhile to take away from it. However I’m not sure exactly how much impact we are actually having. Also, to be fair, there needs to be an examination of the impact, both positive and negative, of all of the Ecuadorians that have gone to the US legally and otherwise on both the US and Ecuador. I think it is virtually impossible to exist anywhere without having an impact and whether the impact is positive or negative is pretty subjective. However I 100% agree that many gringos miss out on a wealth of personal growth experiences by taking the path of least resistance and only hanging out with other gringos.

  • cuenca guy

    Richard I agree with all you wrote,,,Except the new law. You should read it. They have simplified the process a lot. They have eliminated the 12 different visa types and now as of Feb 6 2017 there are only 2 types. 1) is a tourist visa for 90 days you get stamped in your passport with the ability to extend for 180 days every five years, the 90 days can be each year. 2) is a resident tourist visa that is good indefinitely. Like the visa you and I have now.

  • Ellis Nelson

    I just checked the “author” archives and David Morrill has not written anything remotely similar to this. What are you trying to say?

  • Frank Lee

    How do you define “help”? Paying a local third world labor rates but charging your gringo customers gringo prices? The person you are “helping” is yourself.

    • Carol Babin

      Most gringos pay their Ecuadorian help higher than the local hourly pay, which is what most Ecuadorian businesses pay their staff. As well, they distribute 100% of the tips to their staff (without taking any of the tips for themselves), which is not what most Ecuadorian restaurants that add a 10% tip onto your bill are doing. And if you knew anything about the cost of doing business here in Cuenca you would realize that most places are not overcharging you. And I’ve noticed that many Ecuadorian run restaurants are the ones with the higher prices as well as having the mandatory 10% added to the bill, whether you received good service or not. You need to do more research Frank. Most gringo run businesses here in Cuenca are trying their best to be fair to everyone. Yes, there are some whose prices could be better, but the same could be said for some Ecuadorian businesses who cater to us immigrants. Coloring us all with the same brush is not fair and says more about you than it does about us.

      • StillWatching

        Hmmmm… sometimes we have to speak in generalities to communicate meaningfully. You have generalized quite a bit in your post but I think your generalizations are valid. I know you don’t need my assent nor validation but I thought I’d tell you that anyway.

  • StillWatching

    You are poorly informed about two things; Morrill’s history (yes, he certainly was a shill for International Living, but he has never been hypocritical) and the fact that CHL censors nothing.

    • zanoni missouri

      never??? perhaps you are the one who is uninformed!

      • StillWatching

        If you have some evidence of it, why don’t you post it?

  • Glenn P Hebert

    I know Sr. Millard did not intend to lump all North American expats/immigrants together – that he meant to draw attention to bad actors. But, without any kind of research, this article doesn’t help much. The bad actors will likely not change because, unless they’re in la-la land, they already know, at some level, that what they’re doing (like not paying taxes) is immoral. I doubt that Sr. Millard wrote a similar article for a Spanish language platform calling out bad actors in expats/immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. If he did write such an article, I applaud him.

    All I can say is that I follow all Ecuadorian laws, live with and support an Ecuadorian family, and do my best to assimilate into the culture.

    

Yes, after I was 65, and until the BIG ONE, I claimed the IVA refund. The law said I could. But what did I do with the refund? I either gave it to a non-profit or to Ecuadorian citizens who could use it better than I could – every penny (except what the bank charged me for the deposits from SRI). I stopped when the earthquake occurred because I figured the government needed that money to help people recover. Who knows if that was the right decision? It was a show of solidarity. But it may have been more efficient, from a supportive standpoint, for me to continue what I had been doing. After all, the non-profit I gave to turned around and raised money to support a community of earthquake victims. Considering the waste and corruption in government – ANY government – I’m certain I made the wrong choice.

    

Because I follow the laws, it looks like I’ll now have to buy health insurance. It will be a waste because I always pay private doctors and clinics out-of-pocket here. But, if that’s the law here, and I want to live here, I’ll do it.

    

Like someone posted, I’d like to see Sr. Millard buttress an article like this with some hard statistics. For instance, out of ~6,000 North American expats/immigrants (more counting all of Ecuador), how many actually do these “unfair” things? (I put unfair in quotes because some things he mentions – like IVA refunds and health care – are written into the law. If Ecuador has a problem with these, the laws can be changed.) What do North American expats/immigrants cost the government as opposed to other expats/immigrants? What do North American expats/immigrants contribute the Ecuadorian economy as opposed to other expats/immigrants? After all, this last question is one used against the deportation of illegal immigrants in the U.S. (i.e., they contribute more than they cost, economic-wise.)

    

If there is starting to be a backlash among Ecuadorians toward the North American expat/immigrant group, I think we as well as Ecuadorians would benefit from such statistics as mentioned above.

    

I have, and will continue, to make interest-free loans and outright gifts to people and families of Ecuador in need. They are always people I know, and I never grant a loan of more than I am comfortable losing. (I know people who ask me for loans are in tight spots, meaning circumstances could change, meaning the money may not come back. I’m not going to try to take anyone to court, so why lose more than I can afford?) So far, the vast majority of loans have been repaid.



    This is a little off-topic, but I feel a need to throw it out there. If I did not follow the laws of Ecuador, including the process of becoming a resident, I’d be subject to arrest and/or deportation. That’s only fair, because I was not born here. So why do so many people kick and scream about the U.S. arresting and/or deporting people who came into that country without following due process? It makes no sense to me.

  • Eric Fraterman

    I generally have very little time for “internal policing’ within the gringo community. However, some of us could indeed be more culturally sensitive and try to meld in more – rather than stand out like a sore thumb. I sometimes cringe that by the very fact I am clearly an expat I most likley get tarred with the same brush as the obvious “ugly Americans” among us.
    My second point is that the writer pays no attention to the equally anecdotal evidence as he uses, that many Cuencanos value the influence of foreigners on their city which has traditionally been very insular, due to its geography.
    And finally, it appears that when you use recently published research that the 6,000 or so Gringos (being 1% of the population) inject some $120 million into the local economy. And even if many make use of the legal IVA refund privilege, this money too finds it way into the economy. It appears to me that the city of Cuenca and its mayor (although he may have some reservations) understand full well the direct economic impact (and touristic ripple effect) of the presense of Gringos.
    I regret that the writer of this article has left out the positive impact of those many expats who do significant volunteer work in one form or another and give back to this welcoming country. Or, perhaps he might see this as colonial benevolence…

    • Ralph

      Didn’t you just get off the bus here, like, five minutes ago as an expat? Maybe you should sit on your hands for awhile before you share your ‘expertise’ with us.

  • Ricki

    Very uninformed article. Go back to Canada.

    • Galileo

      Ricki,
      OMG, a Canadian article? You can bet they are the biggest burden on humanity next to our Middle-east cousins. Canadians are the biggest misers on the planet and give all white skinned people a bad reputation. Their national bird sings “Cheap, Cheap, Cheap!”

  • sophie

    Good points…I am really embarrassed and frustrated by how hard I find learning Spanish..I’m so aware of it too after being here nearly two years ..most people I know that came when I did are nearly fluent…sigh…my memory is bad and im only 42…If I was here permanently or drawing a petition I would have to learn…and I hope I could!! At the moment teaching English seems to mean I have English grammar in my head the whole time..

  • sophie

    Wow Mr Millard! Your article is clearly true on so many levels – otherwise why are so many people sooo offended…a touch too close to home for many I think.

    • Idea

      No, you got it totally wrong, Sophie. People get offended not because it is true, but because the author made up some “facts”, to make himself look better than others. Very rarely people like what lately came to be known as “alternative facts”.

      • sophie

        That’s interesting. I guess I don’t know the author. I just thought that the article did stress that he wasn’t talking about everyone so for people who aren’t in the groups he described it just seemed like the reactions were a bit over the top…but maybe people who know the author would have a different view.

        • Galileo

          Sophie, I agree with your comment “I just thought that the article did stress”. If you would have stopped there I would be in total agreement.

          • sophie

            Then it would be a sentence that made no sense 🙂

  • steve feuerbacher

    What an amazingly one-sided article. We spend the equivalent of seven or eight Basic Essential Salaries living here in Cuenca. We attend a bilingual church with an almost even number of expats and Ecuadorians. We have private medical insurance for catastrophic coverage and also pay out of pocket for medical care with doctors we selected.

    There is a reason that Ecuador offers any expat who can show $800 per month in a “pension for life” access to permanent residency.

    With the average wage estimated @ $478 per month, it would seem logical that someone required to have almost twice that income is going to make a positive economic contribution.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ecuador/wages

    Granted, we have only been here seven months but unless I missed something, the author provided no support for any of his statements other than anecdotal experience. No statistical links…no studies of economic impact…nothing but unsubstantiated and incredibly biased opinions that appear to be those of someone very angry for some reason…if we are lucky…that we will never know.

    It’s also confusing to think roughly 6,000 people in a community of over 600,000 can have the economic effect that some seem to imply on pricing of…for example…housing.

    The other day a “realtor” was showing us a piece of commercial property that we might be interested in developing as an American assisted living or retirement community. Her comment about it being a tragedy that so many Americans were coming was confusing. It was also incredibly ignorant and in my humble opinion…insensitive…to with one hand offer to sell me something and with the other complain about the fact that so many Americans are immigrating to her country.

    It’s really simple. If Ecuadorians don’t want expats moving to their country, all they need to do is change the laws that make Ecuador the most attractive retirement destination…at least for the moment…in the world.

    So far, based upon nothing more than our personal experience, most Ecuadorians…the vast majority of the ones that we have met and dealt with…seem to appreciate having us here.

    I have also noticed a fair degree of resentment from some expats…especially the ones that have been here a while…towards newer arrivals. Of course, there’s nothing surprising about the “old hands” not wanting to share their “slice of paradise.” In a way, this resentment is just another manifestation of the scarcity mentality mindset that controls the daily lives of the the majority of the human beings on the planet that we share…or don’t share depending on your perspective…:).

  • Stephen Atari Rosauer

    Sour grapes.

  • edgeof 2

    Ecuador can issue a travel ban to all ugly North Americans. World travel, tourism, travel and cultural exchange is deplorable – then again maybe not. The tip off on this being a bad biased article is when the author states that people that come to Ecuador touring have superficial experience. Then in my community in Ecuador the expats iniated the only soup kitchen with shower facilities to the poor and elderly and the only free animal clinic. Then are their really that much a drain on the culture and economy compared to what us contributed. Are Ecuadorian ignorant as well as North Ameicans. When does the us against them mentality become conscious in thinking.

    • StillWatching

      Huh? Are you drinking again?

  • StillWatching

    Oh an expert !

  • StillWatching

    “We must sacrifice all that, along with many pension perks, to make a life here permanently.”

    Pobrecito! Cry much? Generalize much? Write in platitudes much? Criticize others much for the very sins you commit?

    Hypocrite.

    Admit it. You really are Julius Talbot

    • Globetrotter

      Forgive me..but are you damaged in some way or under medication?

      You invariably resort to confusing personal attacks rather than address the details provided. I would be offended but you do the same with others as well, and constantly. You also become agitated very easily and favor labels rather than logic. If I am ignorant of some condition of yours others know of, can I be enlightened, by PM?

  • StillWatching

    “I agree. Claiming back Ecuadorian IVA (sales tax) is a pathetic expat loophole. I do not do it.”

    Proclaiming your own righteousness. How noble you are. May I have your permission to emulate you?

    • Globetrotter

      Your saying that my not feeling comfy feeding at the Ecuadorian breast makes me “righteous”?!!

      There is an ancient expression. Do you know it? “Poor people have poor ways.”

      We live in a time of great change, of collapsing systems and mass immigration in a hope of survival. I am very aware of that. So many are frightened, be they Syrian refugees escaping death, Latins hoping for a better life after centuries of exploitation, Africans fleeing famine, and people like you, escaping a system that did not match your hopes and forced you to look elsewhere.

      All these people have priorities which go beyond the niceties of choice. Ecuador is cheaper than the USA, you can still keep your US pensions AND get even more vigorish by grabbing anything the local system will give you and you ex-home can’t. (shrug) You are right, I should not begrudge you the things you must do. My apologies. I am luckily luckier.

      But other immigrants throughout the world are grateful and happy for the new chances afforded them in their new homes. I can live anywhere and I am grateful for Ecuador nonetheless. You are merely bitter.

      • StillWatching

        “Your saying that my not feeling comfy feeding at the Ecuadorian breast makes me “righteous”?!!”

        First, learn the difference between righteousness and self righteousness. Righteousness is noble, self righteousness isn’t. Your proclamation that you don’t collect IVA refunds was some of the most smarmy self righteousness I’ve ever seen. You might as well have just proclaimed, “Look at me. See how noble I am because I don’t collect IVA refunds” There is nothing wrong with your decision to forego the IVA refunds, but telling the world about it is pathetic self righteousness.

        There is an ancient expression. Do you know it? “Poor people have poor ways.”

        No, I don’t know it and I don’t see how it is germane in any way.

        “We live in a time of great change, of collapsing systems and mass immigration in a hope of survival. I am very aware of that. So many are frightened, be they Syrian refugees escaping death, Latins hoping for a better life after centuries of exploitation, Africans fleeing famine, and people like you, escaping a system that did not match your hopes and forced you to look elsewhere.”

        You debate poorly and are guilty of committing many logical fallacies. In just the paragraph above, you have committed two such fallacies that completely negates your point. The first fallacy is called composition or division and the second is called false cause. Here are links to a brief explanations of what those things entail and on that site, you will find 24 simple and easy to understand common logical fallacies. It’s obvious you never studied logic formally, but this little compendium will help you a great deal to understand the logical errors you commit:

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/composition-division

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/false-cause

        Instead of me being completely didactic and showing you where your preceding paragraph comes afoul of those two concepts, read the brief explanations and see if you can see them yourself. As your paragraph begins, I’m in full agreement with what you write in your first two full sentences and most of what you write in your third sentence. But your statements about me, personally, are arrogant, ill informed guesses that have no basis in fact and are completely wrong.

        “All these people have priorities which go beyond the niceties of choice. Ecuador is cheaper than the USA, you can still keep your US pensions AND get even more vigorish by grabbing anything the local system will give you and you ex-home can’t. (shrug) You are right, I should not begrudge you the things you must do. My apologies. I am luckily luckier.”

        More of your superbity and ignorance. You know nothing of my financial condition, nor whether my priorities are dictated by choice or necessity. You thinking otherwise only serves to strengthen my judgment that you are arrogant, foolish, or both.

        “But other immigrants throughout the world are grateful and happy for the new chances afforded them in their new homes. I can live anywhere and I am grateful for Ecuador nonetheless. You are merely bitter.”

        More of same. I’m certainly not going to lend you any credibility by asserting and trying to prove that I, too, can live anywhere and am still grateful for Ecuador and I most certainly am not going to lend your assertion that I am bitter by defending myself from the charge.

        Julius, I’ve said this to you before and you only briefly heeded my advice. Perhaps you will reconsider; You’re not in my league from the standpoint of intelligence and education, nor do you debate well due to your obvious lack of formal training in logic. I can’t imagine what it is that you do well and I won’t presume to guess because I don’t really know you at all, but I’m sure there is something you do well and whatever that may be, I suggest you limit yourself to it. This just doesn’t seem to be something that you are well suited for.

        • Globetrotter

          Nonsense. You are merely a very bitter fella (or lady?) who will invent any silly justification to attack anyone. At present, your type can be found at night most corners in the western world without a street light.

          My wife wants me to add that Americans, after having despoiled and abusing this country for generations , stripping its resources,ruining the land, “CIA”ing those who would help its people and propping up dictators should be doing ANYTHING possible to help especially when you have chosen to seek refuge here..at a time when the USA is currently doing all it can to hurt them.

          Logic suggests you should be contrite and ashamed, rather than intolerant, bitter and arrogant. Of course, there some wonderful Americans, but you are not one of them. And you stop the good ones from expressing themselves…

          • StillWatching

            Julius, you have been reduced to trite generalities, none of which address any of my specific points. If you want to try your hand at debating issues with facts, logic and reason, I’ll re-engage you, but until you do that, I won’t waste my time on you. I am getting to this post after having read your repeated responses to my posts on another thread by calling them “bile”. There, too, I will step up to refute any of the lies, false beliefs or distortions that you post, but if my follow up posts are met with the same vapid garbage that you have proffered so far, I will just ignore you.

            • Globetrotter

              You are a strange man. I have read what I could find here of the “Julius” posts you refer to and I must say he IS my kind of guy. 😀 But I cannot remember when I last used my name in a public forum. Probably before the hostile sorts like yourself became so common.

              Funny thing, but I looked up StillWatching for your phone number and address and I couldn’t find your listing. Is it possible that you are using an alias too? 😉

              No, “Sty”, I will continue with my posts…unless others join in to track and control you. You needlessly hurt people.

              • StillWatching

                Whaaaaa, waaaa, waaaa. Julius, thou protesteth too much. I can’t understand how you couldn’t find my phone number and address when you looked it up. It is right under “Globetrotter” in the listings.

                Of course you would find the “Julius” posts to your liking because the “Julius” portion of the Julius/StillWatching debates were written by you in the same poor writing style that you employ here. It is very difficult to disguise ignorance when that’s all you bring to the table.

                I’m flattered by the incredible power you grant me but I really think you overstate the case. “You needlessly hurt people.” Sure thing Julius. I guess my mother’s teachings didn’t apply in Canada; “Sticks and stones will hurt my bones but names nor words can hurt me”

  • Jane

    Collecting the IVA rebate once a month looks like a loser to me and only “works” if you have a coupon clipper mentality, I don’t. I liken that to scrounging the river banks for empty bottles of Pilsner Grande so you can turn them in for a refund. I’m not interested in that either.

    • StilllWatching

      Well aren’t you wonderful!

      • CuencaJohnsons

        Yes, we all applaud, standing. LOL

  • AAD

    this article is so right on! thank you Ernie. and some of the “offended” ones are so guilty, as in indictment. thank you Ernie, and yes, i am Ecuadorian. of course, also American. woohoo!

    • StilllWatching

      “…so guilty, as in indictment.”

      Seriously, you’re not really that dumb, are you? Show me any country on earth where indictment = guilt.

      You need a lesson in jurisprudence. While you’re at it, logic would also be appropriate.

      • AAD

        well, its called complex deductive reasoning. in other words, when there is sufficient reasonable doubt, you are indited. the part you got right is that i did not say anyone IS guilty. and that is as far as we have gone here. and u, my dear bozoface, clearly need a swift kick in your arrogant, rude…. ego? wanna have another round? better suggestion: get a life and stop piggy backing off of other’s comments. ciao ciao. p.s. thank you for the prefect example. 😉

        • StilllWatching

          Your logic sucks. Maybe you can see it by me just asking you what you mean by this: ” when there is sufficient reasonable doubt, you are indited”

          Never mind that you have misspelled “indictment”, when there is sufficient reasonable doubt, you are NOT indicted, nor are you charged, thus you can’t be declared guilty. You wouldn’t know complex deductive reasoning if it bit your ass.

          Incidentally, you write like crap. I count 11 examples of spelling, syntax and punctuation errors in your weak 6 line reply. I’ll bet if you consult your mom, she can help you find them.

      • CuencaJohnsons

        StillWatching, AAD’s hopeless posts do not deserve your thoughtful replies. gibberish with pretense on education.

        “complex deductive reasoning” ???? What is this. And how this nonentity can equal “when there is sufficient reasonable doubt, you are indited” ????

        • AAD

          PLAY IT LOUD DUDE. jajajajajaj translantion: hahahah
          ‘Ain’t Wastin time no mo’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE3zhu9ROjo

        • AAD

          it is way over your flat head, i guess… at least you are thinking about the quality of my writing. hahahha

      • Globetrotter

        You don’t get out that often do you SW? Or you are hopelessly brainwashed. Not only do many countries use a Presumption of Guilt at indictment on a de jure basis, there has been a horrifying trend in this direction de facto throughout the “free” world, most notably the USA. Simply look at their incarceration rates. Don’t be obtuse.

        And the spreading use of of pre-trial detention, in the USA and beyond, effectively makes people presumed guilty if the accused is merely poor, of a unwanted minority, or a non-citizen, mentally ill or intellectually slow. Or worse, they get murdered on the spot. And I speak to a land that espouses a Presumption of Innocence!!

        • Galileo

          The original pretrial detention was designed to assure a charged person will appear for trial, same as “bonds!”

  • Maria Lopez

    So true. Every word of it. Ecuador was wonderful before International Living began promoting Cuenca as retirement nirvana and Americans began flooding in primarily because they can afford $0.50 humitas and empanadas. Oh, and because they can ‘be somebody’ in a poor South American country.

    Being in Cuenca years ago was a horror show. Tin foil hat American liberals, even more clueless in a foreign country, made fools of themselves on an hourly basis. So I’m glad to see that the Ecuadorians have seen past the so-called economic benefits the Americans bring (like inflation) and are now tightening restrictions on the foreigners.

    Good job Ecuador. Nice to know that you see the infestation of cultural plague that has taken place. Glad to see the welcome mat finally being pulled in. Make them pay an income tax. That will get the worst of them out. Then use FATCA to make the rest of them pay a wealth tax. Good luck, I’m with you.

    • Globetrotter

      You make an excellent point Maria. But no one trained in American culture would acknowledge it. It is not a matter of choice for them..it is merely their training.

      Yes..increasing demand without increasing supply merely raises the prices of humitas, empanadas, homes, professional fees and everything else locals need. But Americans are myopically PROFIT oriented. If anyone earns more profit from their consumption, who cares about the general populous? They brag about how much they consume! They even assume that locals, who now pay more for less because of their consumption, should be grateful to them.

      Look at what that training has brought their old home. The burgeoning US poor, the shrinking US middle class. The escape to cheap countries.

      • StilllWatching

        Julius, wake up. When Maria decries “Tin foil hat American liberals, even more clueless in a foreign country”, she’s including Canadian liberals like you. In fact, I think she was speaking directly to you.

      • Idea

        So, why not increase supply? More humitas, empanadas, homes – more jobs, more profit for Ecuadorians.

        Is there a lack of empanadas and humitas? And do not you see that the housing market is about to collapse, and not due any lack of homes?

        If Gringos did increase the prices here, it is surely not because they increased demand, but because of their lack of understanding the Ecuador realities and of constant idiotic comparisons of the EC prices to those in the USA, not to their percentage of the EC income

        What is happening in the USA is a totally different subject matter.

        • StillWatching

          Idea, for socialists like globetrotter/Talbot, they believe it is a zero sum game. The idea of increasing supply is way beyond their ken.

  • GMS

    I used an Ecuadorian moving company, lawyer,real estate agent,rent from an Ecuadorian(who lives in Wisconsin !!)I used Ecuadorians for painting and electrical work, all my money is in Ecuadorian banks,I pay for local health insurance,shop in Coral and Supermaxi (I don’t know who owns them but all their employees are Ecuadorians) always tip waitstaff and taxi drivers.I just had $3000 worth of dental work at my Ecuadorian dentist. I am retired and very healthy.All I do here is spend money and don’t ask for my sales tax back.I have spent over $1000 dollars on different Spanish classes but it’s my brains inability to absorb it that keeps me from learning the language well.Even still I am friendly with all my Ecuadorian neighbors and even if we have to use our phones we manage to communicate.I try to be respectful and friendly to everyone.I love this city and it’s friendly people and will spend the rest of my life here. How am I a drain on the economy?I have read that there are 6000 expats here.How many expat Ecuadorians are there in the USA and Canada? A lot more than 6000. They are living there,taking jobs there,sending all their extra cash to their family here. Who is draining what country’s resources?

  • Travis Peterson

    It is interesting, the same things Donald Trump is saying about immigrants in USA, they dont pay taxes, they dont learn the language, they dont integrate into society, are a strain on the social system such as medical.. I dont see much difference. But they should also mention expats for children, hearts of gold, free help with English, all the cleft palates gringos have organized etc. Are we a blight on their society or are people only being negative and one sided in their views.

  • Idea

    One big difference, Travis. In the USA it is Trump and his allies vs illigal immigrants. Here some legal residents implicate other legal residents of Ecuador of some economic crimes.

    Granted, neither Trump & Co, nor tje Dubbs-MIllard Co have a clue of the economy of the countries they are talking about, nor care about anyone or anything else but gratifying their own already overblown egos

  • Egyirba High

    I hear you, Ernie. Human beings don’t like having to take responsibility. I think people react defensively who have some inner awareness of the truth of the essence of this post, and pick out things to refute rather than look to see how it applies to them personally. To me it’s kind of like if the shoe fits! (If not, let it roll off your back).

  • Lory Slims

    I live in a state in the United States that has the same problem. We have a lot of legal and illegal expats that have moved here. While no one wants to admit they are part of the problem, I am wondering if we count up the numbers here and subtract the numbers there what the “real” impact is. It is always so easy when there is a problem to look for a place to point a finger instead of ok what do we do to help fix this?

    • Galileo

      I think it is time for all the retires to commit suicide. Maybe that will make everyone happy. We are already killing off the unborn generation why not start at the top too. We could throw in a war or two and kill off a bunch that way also. Then we can have a world of middle aged jerks that were raised in daycares running everything. We are obviously worthless and need to move on.

  • Galileo

    I find articles and discussions like this to be a bore. I really don’t give a rat’s a$$ what you think nor will I tell you how to live.

  • menotq

    Wow, I can’t believe all the negative and overly reacting commits. “Expat police” “Right wing crazy” etc. I never once felt he put everyone in the same basket, he simply says
    take a look in the mirror, “IF” it doesn’t apply, then there is no reason to be on the defensive. Unfortunately, bad apples do do damage to images and even change laws, even to gringos doing the very best for themselves and helping locals along their journey.Bad behaviors effect us all, period. Gee’s guys take a breath!