Expatica news

Migration to Spain ‘a tragedy’ for Ecuador: president

12 July 2007

MADRID –  Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa kicked off an official visit to Spain by saying the outward migration of hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens was a tragedy and represented a failure back home.

Speaking at a news conference with Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Correa said Ecuadorean officials had calculated that around 700,000 men and women from his country had emigrated to Spain alone.

“Migration has been a great national tragedy for us and the most faithful reflection of failed economic and social policies applied in recent decades,” Correa said.

Correa thanked Spain for having received without qualms hundreds of thousands of migrants from Ecuador who had been “expelled” from their own country by harmful policies.

Migration created “a catastrophe” at a family level because it split people up, with parents often living in different countries to their children, Correa said.

He said Ecuador was in a new era today, when much could be achieved and people could recover their self-esteem. He noted Spain’s own recovery after years of hardship and emigration during the 1960s and 1970s, the final decades of Gen. Francisco Franco’s 40-year dictatorship.

“We believe we can achieve much and maybe repeat Spain’s experience,” Correa said.

Correa, 43, a tall, charismatic left-of-center U.S.-trained economist, was elected to power in November having pledged radical reforms to clean up corruption in Ecuador.

The Ecuadorean leader said his government was reviewing policies, including oil exploitation contracts, that could have affected his country’s economy negatively.

Ecuador takes a 15 percent cut of profits from oil extracted from its territory, he said. Spain’s Repsol oil company was among those whose contracts were under review.

Correa is a friend of Venezuela’s anti-U.S. President Hugo Chavez as well as Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news