Until 2015, Greece kept an open door for all that citizen of the European country that arrived in Guayaquil. A nexus that closed when the person who assumed the functions of honorary consul died.
On the website of the embassy of this country in Quito, in the Consulate item in Guayaquil, it has been placed: To designate. When? A person who answered this question unofficially responded to EXPRESS: When someone thinks it is convenient to represent us.
“It is not easy to find someone to assume these functions,” says Carlos Núñez Calderón de la Barca, who for 20 years represented his country in this city. “You must have time to devote to solving a series of issues. In addition, it must be solvent, because the expenses in your account run in a position that is ad honorem”.
Precisely, in this category, 43 of the 50 consuls they represent in Guayaquil perform functions.
Only seven are consulates that are known as career. That is, in charge of diplomats sent officially by the government of the country they represent.
But what is the difference between a career consul and one named honorary? In the case of the second, he has “the ability to issue visas, renew passports, legalize documents or translations,” says Xavier Velásquez Abad, a Guayaquil native who for 20 years represented the United Kingdom as his honorary vice-consul.
What is not exempt is to keep the image of the country it represents alive. “In the event that a citizen of this nation suffers a mishap, the honorary consul should come to his aid. If he falls in detention, he should go to the jail to provide him with the necessary help, “says Velásquez.
Núñez Calderón de la Barca believes that while he worked in these functions, he could even sign certain documents, because of the level of confidence he had achieved with Mexico. “Not only because I am Mexican, but because of the skills I had already achieved in Guayaquil,” adds the historian and businessman.
It is a candidate to occupy these functions citizens born in the country they represent or foreigners with a disposition to act in favor of the interests of the State that chooses it and its nationals.
They must “maintain certain ties with the country they represent and that prove they possess the adequate economic and suitability conditions to perform the functions assigned to them honorably,” say the decrees of the Vienna Convention of 1963, which details the functions of these diplomatic representations.
About why in Guayaquil there are more honorary consulates than career consulates, not necessarily this responds to a local issue, considers Holbach Muñetón Zaporta, president of the Chamber of Tourism of Guayas.
“Each country should consider that there is a need. As for example, more locals asking for visas to travel to the country that reviews the option of a consulate or citizens who are residing or moving to this city, “adds Muñetón, who also chairs the National Federation of Provincial Tourism Chambers.
The economic issue also prevails. Precisely, this is why one of the historical consulates of Guayaquil, which maintained a career consul, like that of Argentina, is about to close its doors.
Argentine diplomatic office will close by budget cut.
“It’s about a budget issue,” says Ricardo Koening, an Argentine businessman who has lived there for 46 years. Until recently, Mexico maintained an honorary consul, but for personal interests he left office.
He once delegated one of his career diplomats to move to Guayaquil to assume these functions. But this lasted five years.
The group of seven
It is not a special selection, but the presence of consulates with career officials represent countries that somehow generated important links with this city. An example, the US, their office opened the diplomatic headquarters in Guayaquil. Parallel to this, at the time, there were waves of people from Guayaquil who traveled to this country to live there, for business, studies and walks.
The group of seven is also China. In Guayaquil, since the end of the 19th century, there has been a wave of migrants from the Asian country.
That of Chile, for the interests of many Chileans in this city and of Guayaquil citizens, who travel for studies. In the case of Colombia and Peru, it is also understood by the flow of citizens between both countries. Among European countries, Spain also expanded its services due to the demand for visas for travelers and students. Germany joins this group.
Entry of Argentines
In 2017, Ecuador received 39,682 Argentines. 49% demanded consumption in the cultural area -historical, ethnographic heritage …- (Sierra). The remaining 50% was related to beach, sun and adventure tourism. In this case, with arrivals to Guayaquil. In the list of travelers with greater presence are the Americans (200 thousand), Colombians (300 thousand), Mexicans, Chileans, Brazilians, British, French, among others. (I)