The coronavirus pandemic brought with it a labor crisis from which its magnitude is not yet known and from which not all will be able to recover.
The foreigners , who leave everything to try his luck away from their land, are especially at risk. This special collects the stories of three of them, who, as a result of the emergency, live in an adverse situation.
Like the story of Luciano Guarrera, an Argentine musician , who was passing through Ecuador in 2018, when he found economic prosperity. Now, forced by the work stoppage in the tourism sector, he had to return to his country, but with the promise of returning as soon as the emergency passes.
Or the case of Rafael Guzmán, a 50-year-old Cuban university teacher and composer, who arrived in Guayaquil two years ago out of financial need. Now, although he misses his family on the island, the responsibility of giving them a better life keeps him settled in a foreign land.
On the other hand, for Genaro, a 28-year-old Argentine, who five years ago opted to undertake in the Montañita commune , returning is not an option. The success allowed him to open three businesses, but it also left him debts, commitments to honor and a family to look after.
For all of them, working is the only way to find a way out of the crisis. (I)
Luciano Guarrera, Argentine musician
“A piece of my heart stays in Ecuador”
Luciano Guarrera, a 31-year-old Argentine musician, made the decision to return to his country with great regret, as a result of the health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. He arrived in Argentina eight days ago and is currently in the second and last week of quarantine, in the city of San Luis, before finally being able to return with his family.
Remember that since you settled in the province of Santa Elena
-first in Salinas and finally in Montañita- at the end of 2018, the idea of returning had not been considered. “I was working as a street artist, making music. The idea was to stay a season to make some money and continue traveling, I had been in Colombia, but I decided to come because the dollar is a more stable currency and the situation there is much more difficult.
Being here I fell in love with the idea of living alone, of the beach , of the environment. Street work was working for me, then I had the opportunity to formalize myself by playing in a bar, where later I also became a bartender. I was doing very well. “
However, following measures to curb the pandemic, tourism came to a complete halt and the situation changed dramatically. At the beginning he kept the idea of staying, because the Argentine government was helping him with a quota of $ 20 a week for food and the owners of the bar were hosting him. But then the situation worsened, the news started to come out and he realized that the outbreak was going to take time to resolve. In those days he learned of a free humanitarian flight and made the decision to return.
“There was no way to work and in any case it is easier to get food, medicine or even some job being close to my family. It was a difficult decision, I did not want to leave, a little piece of my heart stays in Ecuador. When all this happens, I will surely return to resume my projects right where they left off. ” (I)
Rafael Guzmán, Cuban teacher
“I had never considered leaving Cuba”
Rafael is a 50-year-old Cuban, doctor of music, university professor, composer, and pianist. After 16 years working for the University of the Arts in Havana, the search for new airs led him to try his luck in Ecuador , where he has lived since April 2018.
Although he admits that he never thought of leaving Cuba, he recalled several factors that led him – or forced him – to make the decision. “My son turned 15, the money was not enough, I was going through my second divorce and my father had passed away. I consulted with my family, who are my mother and my son, and I came ”.
Rafael currently works full time at the University of the Arts in Ecuador . He teaches subjects such as Music Theory, Composition of Soundtracks and Music History and, although he feels happy and fulfilled with his work, he assured that the only thing that stops him from returning to Cuba is the economic issue.
“In Cuba very little is earned, while here the issue of wages is undoubtedly very attractive, especially for Cubans, who live in a totalitarian government.”
The pianist is frank, he confessed that he does not like living in Guayaquil , because the artistic movement is very poor and of poor quality. “The Cuban artist does not like living or working here, but the problem is not with Ecuador, but with the city of Guayaquil. I would like to have the same job in some city in the Sierra, such as Quito, Cuenca or Loja, where there is cultural life and of a better level ”.
Guzmán assured that it is reassuring that his family is in Cuba , since he is certain that they will receive adequate medical attention in case they get covid-19 (until yesterday there were 1,501 confirmed cases on the island).
“I am an islander and I miss my land, the sea very much. The day that I lack the economic attractiveness and the spiritual one does not exist, that day I will return ”. (I)
Genaro Pietrodarchi, Argentine hotel entrepreneur
“I have commitments that I must fulfill”
In 2012, Genaro had his first experience working in Ecuador. Back then he was traveling around the continent, developing his skills as a master cocktail shaker while learning about new places. Thus he arrived at the Montañita commune, in the Manglaralto parish, Santa Elena province .
In the town he saw the potential to materialize the projects that he carries out today. He recalled that in 2015 he returned with the mentality of working. After two years working as a bartender in bars and restaurants, he got together with a friend and they started the successful project they are carrying out today.
“We opened Al Carajo Resto-Bar, on the Montañita boardwalk, we grew up quickly and moved to the foot of the beach. A year and a half ago we expanded the franchise with a hostel, Al Carajo House , and two months ago – a week before the start of the emergency – a craft brewery.
“We hoped to reap the fruits of the hard work of the past two years this season, but unfortunately the coronavirus hurt us. Now we are extremely concerned because tourism was the first to fall and will be the last to rise. “
Genaro confirmed that the vast majority of foreigners who worked in the commune have already returned to their countries or are waiting to do so. Of the ten Argentines who worked in his bar, eight have already returned, and another Colombian employee is also waiting to be repatriated.
Genaro considers it impossible to return to Argentina, despite being aware that the situation there is more controlled and the health system has responded better. “I have suppliers, clients, loans and other commitments to fulfill. Also, here is my wife and my son (2 and a half years old). We will have to work harder to recover, because returning is not an option. ” (I)