Ecuador News

‘Ecuador for Ecuadorians’: Lasso says he would tighten country’s immigration policies

Criticizing a government program to recruit Cuban doctors, presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso said Thursday that Ecuador may have gone too far in its ‘open border’ immigration policy. In particular, he said the country should make sure those who want to stay long-term provide a benefit to Ecuador.

Guillermo Lasso

Lasso said an earlier statement, “Ecuador for Ecuadorians and Cuba for Cubans,” had been misinterpreted. “I am not against inviting talented foreigners to our country, including the doctors from Cuba, but it should not be a government-to-government program, it should be arranged by doctors and the medical profession, and person-to-person.”

He made his comments during a visit with faculty and students at San Francisco University in Quito.

Lasso said that he does not object, in principle, to the government’s concept of “greater human mobility across international border,” but says he favors a higher degree of discretion in admitting foreigners, especially those who will become residents.

“We need foreign talent, especially entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, and artists, and after they are properly vetted, they are welcome,” Lasso said. “I question, however, the idea of simply throwing our borders open to all comers. We will welcome tourists but we must consider carefully those who come to Ecuador to stay. They must fulfill a useful purpose.”

  • Danny

    Lasso just lost the Expat vote!!!

    • ecexplorer

      But likely gained a lot more in exchange from Ecuadorians.

      • Dogoslave


    • I don’t think so, Ecuador benefits from ex-pat contributions to the economy, both by entrepreneurs & retirees.

      • Globe Trotter

        Absolutely. We all work very hard to raise prices.

        • Pg. and barefoot

          Did you ever hear of the Law of Supply and Demand, GT? When merchants and governments have more money they hire more of every kind, including the poor. There are many products (think “jobs”) on the market in Ec. because of raised prices paid by gringos and wealthy Ecuadorians.
          Are you concerned that the hundreds of millions of dollars sent and brought back to Ec. from the US may have raised prices? (There are thousands of taxi drivers and auto owners in Ec. who would be walking otherwise.) “Keep them pg. and barefoot” seems to be your slogan, GT.

          • Broker Dry Freight

            And you sir, miss the point. Take a look at what Gary and Int’l living did to Costa Rica, Panama and now Ecuador. Terrorist are killing the poor and feeding the rich.

      • Virginia W.

        As long they stop milking the syst.

    • Janet LeBlanc

      I disagree. Why should ANY country be taking in deadbeat freeloaders that will strain the economy? Expats (hopefully) bring income to businesses, tax revenue, investment, and often professional skills and entrepreneurial ideas and talent. They also contribute to charitable endeavors, in many cases initiating non-profit charities that provide direct benefit to the local population.

      • Virginia W.

        And some want a vat refund on WINE! How they dare?

  • jerrynellen

    I wonder what benefit he will see in retiree expats who spend dollars for housing, food, clothing, entertainment, etc.?

    • Globe Trotter

      How does that do more than raise prices? You confuse profits for property owners, grocers, retailers with being a social benefit.

  • Beth

    I know a Cuban that supports him, he just lost that vote. Jajaja.

  • Sara

    This wouldn’t affect expats like us. Our numbers are insignificant and we carry our own weight. I seriously doubt our existence has ever crossed his mind.

  • steve feuerbacher

    Is it my imagination or does this sound remarkably similar to the positions of conservative candidates around the globe…sort of like “America first?”

    I suspect that there will be a conversation about the “contribution vs the cost” of the influx of expats. Do we contribute more than we take? For example, what percentage of the expat community is participating in the national insurance program IESS and what is the average cost per capita of the expat community versus the Ecuadorian community?

    Logic suggest that because of our age…most of us being seniors…we have greater healthcare issues. These are mathematical questions…the answers are available to anyone with access to the data. The questions will be asked and the answers will be found. The real question is what decisions will be made based upon the analysis.

    In the US, the age of the person being insured is a large component of the price they will pay for health insurance. I suspect that age will become a consideration here at some point. I also suspect that even “age adjusted” premiums in Ecuador will still be an incredible bargain compared to the cost of health insurance in the USA.

    I pick up permanent residency Visa on Tuesday and if I understand the system, I will be eligible for IESS roughly 90 days later and the cost is less than $70 a month. Everytime I think about that, a smile breaks out…i can’t help it. To be honest, if they told me it would be $140 a month…the smile would still be there and probably just as big.

    Anyway, the original question was Mr. Lasso’s view and position on immigration and apologize for getting off track…senior moment?

    • StillWatching

      Very insightful post and “getting off track” should never be an issue. Who is hurt by a divergence from what some control freak deems to be appropriate? If you had stayed “on track”, we would have missed the excellent insights you have provided. Please don’t pander to the P.C. crowd, we might miss something important or useful.

    • CD

      I have lived here for 4 years and there is no way I would step foot into an IESS hospital or clinic. I pay cash for excellent medical care and contribute more to the economy here than 90% of any Ecuadoreans. I take nothing in government services. So the government should look at its social programs and “busy work” jobs that puts a drain on the economy before they worry about expats.

    • Globe Trotter

      Steve. Consider that you are starting from different point of departure from the world’s. That difference is what makes you smile at the IESS costs.

      The developed world, with the exception of the USA, moved to universal health care generations ago. It has proven, despite aches and pain, to be effective. Health quality has surpassed the USA, life expectancy is longer, health quality at all ages is much better. And it costs these societies a fraction for universal coverage than what the USA pays for much less.

      So what is the big deal? With scores of different successful plans around the world to choose from, all of which will save trillions, why the diddling? Simply to make more profits for someone?

      Let me show you our cultural gulf with one comment. I have NEVER, in my entire life, passed a second worrying about the costs of getting ill or injured or being hospitalized or requiring extended care. And I have never been insured as you know that term. And I am the template outside of the USA. Would that situation have made YOUR life easier… happier?

  • Sumana

    I contacted someone who is working with Lasso and was told: “It is not an issue with the Americans, the issue is with Venezuelans and Peruvians who because of the exchange rate decide to come to work without visas”.

    • StillWatching

      Who are we to believe? Some third hand hearsay source, or direct quotes from Lasso that we can all interpret as our own discernment dictates? How do we know how many layers of interpretation are between your source “who is working with Lasso” and what you have posted here in quotation marks?

    • Globe Trotter

      Did you get that in writing? 😉 Truth is that one can no longer politically draft legislation picking out one group, by origin, religion, race..ethnicity. Those days are over (or, if you look at the USA, just starting again!). The only way to get rid of non-visa starving Venezuelans is to crack down on everybody in the same boat.

      However, don’t worry. The statement was merely made to take political advantage of local animosities. That’s always good for extra votes. Candidates become their scummiest in the last few days of a close race. Ignore it.

  • nards barley

    I think it might have been the great Dubbs who once said “get the “dead wood out”. Go Lasso.

    • John

      Oh, you mean the same Dubbs that had pirated books printed locally but omitted the copyright page? That Dubbs?

      • baba free

        Yeah, is it the same great Dubbs that wants 10$ for those paperbacks???

  • Loren Lowe

    It makes perfect sense, and to do otherwise is insane. WHy on earth would you open your doors to deadbeats?

    • Modesto R Gonzalez

      Americans are not deadbeats! they bring cash to Ecuador.!

      • Globe Trotter

        Yes. They certainly bring cash to Ecuador. But any free-thinking well-trained economist will tell you that that simply bring in more cash will simply bloat profits (for the few) and prices (for everyone).

        In developed countries, with an common- sense immigration policy, the ideal targets are young professionals or skilled trades people, preferably with young children. Race, religion, language, culture are not factors.

        Old people, regardless of their money, are far less than er…”choice”. They don’t produce anything, they raise living space and food prices and they put a greater burden on the locals because of that. We raise demand without raising supply and make it harder for them to live in their own country. Many nations, having an option, refuse such people unless they agree to open up an approved business in a designated area employing so many locals, etc etc (ugh!)

        But, for the moment, Ecuador does not have options. By adopting the US dollar, they need a constant US inflow, if only to pay for the Chinese loans (made from China’s huge stash of same).

        Yet don’t worry about American expats getting the boot until the currency switches back to the sucre. The first sensible step in that direction is the otherwise dumb deal they signed with the Europe. It only makes sense if considered as another move to replace the US. But Trump’s America-first policy will move Ecuador in that direction faster. (The rest of us are European and Canadian or even further afield, all places eagerly wanting to trade.)

        But frankly, I do not see Americans getting the boot..ever. Because this is Ecuador, not the USA. It takes generations to change cultural fundamentals. Human kindness is a cultural characteristic

        • Martica Leonard

          Human kindness, unfortunately, is in short supply in Ecuador.

      • Loren Lowe

        Who said anything about Americans? I didnt mention any country. Im talking about DEADBEATS. From anywhere. Why does it matter where a deadbeat comes from? ANY country should keep people out that will not benefit and contribute to the people of that country. The people of a country should not suffer for the sake of inviting people in that are deadbeats. That goes for Ecuador or the USA.

  • Modesto R Gonzalez

    He is a thief, I don’t like this guy, he is going to make Ecuador a third world country again, I will not vote for this stupid fellow.

  • Martica Leonard

    The useful purpose we fulfill is bringing much needed funds and employment to many underemployed and underpaid Ecuadorians.

    • Globe Trotter

      How exactly do we do that? How many people do you employ?

      • Martica Leonard

        I employ three people domestically, plus use countless taxis, restaurants, bars, stores, medical and beauty services, airlines, buses, internet and cell phone providers, utilities and markets .

  • Jason Faulkner

    Lasso will never be president so it really doesn’t matter what he says.

    • Globe Trotter

      I heard it was close. (shrug) These days it is best simply to gauge the ugliness of the rhetoric and scare tactics to determine who thinks they may lose.

      • Jason Faulkner

        The only one calling it close is CEDATOS and even they’ve given up on selling the myth that Lasso ever had a chance. The entire SUMA-CREO campaign has caved in on itself. Look for Paez to go full retard and start attacking his allies. Expect at least one fake Odebrecht list to start circulating by tomorrow. Lasso doesn’t care anymore. Running for president resulted in his businesses being scrutinized and now he just wants it all to go away. Sanmiguel and Rodas will try to get to the open arms of the Isaias brothers in Miami. Hopefully they’ll be apprehended at the airport. Either way, it’s a relief. I couldn’t stand to see this place turn into Mexico.

  • Dogoslave

    I suspect the expats who entered EC through the “front door”, in compliance with the immigration laws, will have nothing to worry about. Illegal aliens living in EC, deadbeats or not, will face more intense scrutiny in Lasso’s government.

  • edgeof 2

    Lost expat vote or not Christian missionaries first to go. Unless they are offering nothing but aid and not hustling for their imagined god.

  • Ned D.

    The title of this column strikes stark terror to our hearts. Did Lasso say that? We have given and continue to give a lifetime of hard work to Ecuador. Thank God the US never said this. There are 50 million Latinos in the US, including 1 million Ecuadorians according to this publication, most of whom have no desire to be Americans, only to “take the money and run” back home many here confess. Ask most taxi owners here.
    I’m not sure Lasso feels this way, but what he is quoted as saying here is good for Ecuador. The statement is too brief to know.
    It is also shocking and sickening to read here the opinion of an x-pat? who says that “old people contribute nothing.” Let’s hope his wisdom appears as he ages. He should go to communist countries and see how they value the aged – and him.

  • Frankly Frank

    Does the C.I.A. (Central Intelligence Agency) own Lasso? Don´t people know if this is true, Ecuador will not be for Ecuadorians or any moral, ethical, people of integrity Ecuadorian or not. Does´t Lasso know from the history from other South American countries, and the Middle East countries whose leaders had joined hands with this Axis of Evil eventually destroys their infrustructer, and takes away the peoples rights?? Maybe that is why Permenant Resident is such a hot ticket with Lasso, since the CIA´s illegal dealings in Ecuador is being exposed by people with Permenant Residences.

    I going to adventure to guess (off the top of my head), that at least 95% of the Ex-pats here are older, retired, CONTRIBUTING TO THE SUSTAINABILITY of this Country, by spending their retirement dollars here and not somewhere else. May be the younger Ex-pats that still need to work, and have come here with their families might be somewhat of a drain. But, I think most of them are trying to start businesses here.

    I think Mr. Lasso should be really careful before he creates a mass Exodus of Ex-pats from Ecuador. Then they will miss our $$ when we are gone to contribute to the sustainability of another country

  • Broker Dry Freight

    Slowing immigration is not a bad idea. Other countries are vetting their new arrivals and they have done this for centuries.

    We can have a world without borders but we will never eliminate the raciest/selfish attitudes of the rich.

    The terrorists are attacking the wrong people and letting the rich go free to continue their efforts to minimize the world for their good.

  • Ricki

    They sure wanted to build many condos. Someone got rich off of that. Now we have no purpose? Pretty two faced, glad he lost.

  • Virginia W.

    Expats are eligible to vote AFTER being in EC for 5 years and AFTER they have requested to be enrolled. That is what the law states. The fact that some have been enrolled without their request, shows how things are being handled.