Venezuelans arriving in record numbers to escape deteriorating conditions back home; Quito and Cuenca are favorite destinations

Feb 20, 2015

The Ecuadorian Embassy in Caracas says that a record number of Venezuelans are applying for permanent residency in Ecuador. It also reports that Ecuadorian expats in Venezuela are coming home.

“It’s a bad situation and many people have decided to leave,” says Roberto Fernández who recently arrived in Quito. He comes with his wife and two sons and says he is looking for work in the computer field. “I understand there is programming work available in Quito and Cuenca, which is my field,” he says.

Quito airport officers say that dozens of Venezuelan families arrive each day.

Quito airport officers say that dozens of Venezuelan families arrive each day.

Fernández says that Ecuador is the best choice for relocation. “The economy is good here and the government is not crazy like we have in Caracas,” he says. He adds that he hope to return home one day but does not know when that will be. “My roots are there, my parents and my brothers and sisters, so I hope this is temporary.”

Ecuador immigration officials say that most Venezuelans applying for residency say they are interested in living in either Quito or Cuenca.

Ecuador has also seen an influx of Cubans in recent years, most of them settling in Quito. A spokesman at the immigration office in Quito says that economic conditions in Cuban worse than in Venezuela and that the number of Cubans applying for residency comes as no surprise. “They opportunity here and with more coming, many of them already have family in Ecuador,” he said.

More than 11% of the Ecuadorians living in Venezuela returned home last year, the Ecuadorian Embassy says. There are about 80,000 Ecuadorians left in the country, most of them living in or near Caracas, many of them married to Venezuelans.

Alfonso Quevedo, returned to Ecuador in January after 19 years in Venezuela. “Life has become very difficult there,” he says. “Crime and corruption are getting worse and it is almost impossible to buy basic household good. The employment situation is terrible too. I’m happy to be back home.

Immigration officials in Quito say there are more than 12,000 Venezuelans living in Ecuador, up from 5,000 10 years ago.