Ecuadorian Consulate Opens

by Allan Appel | September 18, 2008 8:01 AM | | Comments (7)

newecuador%20009.JPGSu casa en esta ciudad.” That’s how Patricio Troya described a watershed for New Haven’s growing, vibrant Ecuadorian community — one that echoes a century-old milestone for Italian immigrants.

Troya, at center in photo, made the comment (which translates to “your house in this city”) Wednesday night at a ceremony in Fair Haven, the heart of New Haven’s immigrant community. He was describing the new Ecuadorian consulate that he has just opened downtown at One Church Street.

It will be the first consular office of a foreign government in New Haven since Italy opened a consulate on Wooster Square in 1910.

Some 50 people were on hand to meet Troya at St. Rose of Lima on Blatchley Avenue in Fair Haven.. They included dancers such as Amistad freshman Jerry Sarmiento (on the right in the above photo), whose mom was picked up in an immigration raid last year but with whom he is now reunited.

The church and its priest, Father Jim Manship, are home base for Virgen del Cisne. That’s the Ecuadorians’ community and cultural organization, some of whose coordinators, Carmen Zambrano and Elio Cruz are pictured with him.

nhiecuador%20003.JPGVirgen’s vigorous petitioning and letter-writing campaign over the past five months were critical for New Haven to secure the consulate.

The consulate, said Troya, will have as its priorities relieving the long lines of the Ecuadorian offices in New York. It will provide passport services here, give Ecuadorians their own national ID’s, and serve a notary function. The latter two are important to establish Ecuadorian citizenship and to confirm that Ecuadorians have reached the age of 65, at which point they can receive their social security.

Troya is a lawyer by training. He previously served as consul in Germany. Wednesday night he was at pains to point out that absolutely everything he will be doing will be within the legal framework of the United States and “to promote harmony in New Haven.”

Father Manship called the occasion an example of how the Ecuadorian community is “living in hope, not paralysis.”

The Ecuadorians of Virgen, said Dixon Jimenez, began arriving in Connecticut in the 1960s and 1970s. They are now, next to Mexicans, the largest national Latino group in New Haven. Jimenez said one U.S. census figure has 16,000 Ecuadorians in Connecticut, another, 21,000. Between those here legally and those who are undocumented, there are an estimated 55,000.

In New Haven, the Ecuadorian community has organized soccer leagues, cultural events, and successful businesses. Father Manship recently visited Puerto Quito and Sigsig, areas of southern Ecuador where many of his parishioners hail from. (Click here to read an example of Father Jim’s diary entries from that journey.) He said the consul’s arrival means the beginning of new positive development relationships.

“Today’s events are both a culmination, but also a continuation,” he said.

The new consulate is designed to relieve the long lines at Ecuador’s office in New York and, in the process, to save Elm City Ecuadorians the cost of train travel and money lost from days off work to go there. It will also function as a cultural center, providing books and periodicals published in Ecuador.

Other Connecticut cities, such as Danbury and Bridgeport, were considered for the new consulate. Troya said he Ecuadorian government chose New Haven because of the initiative of Virgen del Cisne, the eager help and support provided by Alcalde John DeStefano (as opposed to the mayor of Danbury), and, primarily, because of the large and growing number of Ecuadorians in New Haven. New Haven’s embrace of immigrants has helped encourage people to move here, open businesses or find jobs.

Troya’s office will serve not only Connecticut but other New England states, likely Rhode Island, but that is still being worked out.

The death of Freddy Salinas, an undocumented Ecuadorian killed trying to intervene in a robbery in Fair Haven, was both a galvanizing community event and an example, Dixon Jimenez pointed out, of how an Ecuadorian consulate here might have helped. “The consulate would have helped with funeral expenses, with gathering proper papers, and funds to send the deceased home, tasks that Virgen took on.”

nhiecuador%20008.JPGSamuel Sarmiento (on the left in photo) is proud the consulate is now in town. It will save him much money and time, he said. (He’s pictured with his son Jerry, an Amistad freshman and dancer with Generacion Latina, in the middle, and Ivania Sarmiento in the foreground.)

His wife, Ivania, a Nicaraguan, was one of some 30 people picked up in the ICE raids of a year and a half ago. With the aid of Yale’s law clinics, her case is being handled in court and her working papers are pending. Still, she said, she startles and has frissons of fear each time there is a knock on the door.

“It is good when people from all over the world come to New Haven to work hard to give their kids a better life,” Mayor DeStefano said at Wednesday’s event.

nhiecuador%20001.JPGTroya’s office is just three blocks from the mayor’s. He said he was deeply impressed by how much there is to do and see in a relatively small city. (He might begin by visiting fellow attorney Walt Bansley, who lives in the splendid former Italian consulate, 1910, off Wooster Square. Bansley has already offered a tour.) Troya said he likes to cook seafood, will live downtown, and hopes to have his wife and three kids established here with him by later in October.

In his free time, should he have it, Troya said he wants to learn to sail so he can impress his kids when they arrive.

Past Independent coverage of New Haven’s Ecuadorian community:

Ecuador Visits Ecuador
Ecuadorian Youth Soccer Steps Up
Feds Rescue “Bakery Slaves”
Teen ID’d as Immigrant’s Killer
Ecuadorian Soccer Kicks Off
Geovana Alexandra Tapia Gualán, 22
• Father Jim Manship’s Ecuadorian diary: The Devout: An Intersection Between the Divine and Secular; Soaked; Change Springs From Bottom Up; A Visit With Elian; Ticket To Credibility; Live From Ecuador
Relief Drummed Up
Relief Sought For Flood Victims
Ecuador.Com, With A Shot Of “Viagra Natural”
Freddy Goes Home
Slain Immigrant’s Family Wants Him Home

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Posted by: Dixon Jimenez | September 18, 2008 9:37 AM

Thank you very much Allan Appel, for your presence in our press conference yesterday. We would like to work together for a new positive development of the ecuadorian community in Connecticut.
Dixon Jimenez

Posted by: Mery Cardenas | September 18, 2008 11:37 AM

Thank you very much to all and everyone who made possible the openening of our "Own Consular Office" in New Haven, CT.
This is such a gigantic step to unite us and make a better Ecuadorian Community.

This office has a good future not only because it saves us time and money but because we finally have the representation we needed, a place where we can always find a helping hand and where our human and citizen rights will be respected.

I'm very proud and honored to have our new Ecuador's Home Consulate Office in New Haven, Connecticut.

Thank you Mr. Allan Appel for a very informative and good report.

Mery Cardenas
Ansonia, CT.

Posted by: Luis Ramirez | September 18, 2008 10:03 PM

Manny thanks to the Virgen del Cisne organisation,who made posssible this dream wich we had long time ago, manny thanks to fhather Jim for his big help

Posted by: German Ruiz | September 18, 2008 11:10 PM

Hola a quienes lean este comentario mi nombre es German Ruiz soy un Ecuatorino y resido en la ciudad de Danbury Ct ,y es lamentable que los representantes de del govierno Ecuatoriano no hayan tomado en cuenta un verdadero censo que realizamos la comunidad ecuatoriana que reside en esta ciudad la misma que es la mas grande de connecticut y que solo en la ciudad de danbury residimos al rededor de 15.0000 ecuatorianos ,en la cual tenemos una organizacion muy respetada en la ciudad de danbury y se llama Centro Civico Ecuatoriano de Danbury y como informacion para quienes no conocen fuen nuestra organizacion la que empezo a trabajar desde hace varios anos atras por que se le de a connecticut una oficina consular hemos luchado a dia a dia para que este anelo se nos conceda pero sin embargo es lamentable que por los compadrasgos pliticos se le haya asignado esta oficina consular a otra ciudad y se le de el credito a otras organizaciones el trabajo que lo hemos hecho nuestra comunidad espero que en un futuro se y con nuevas autoridades se haga justicia a nuestras aspiraciones .

Posted by: Alan Felder | September 21, 2008 12:12 AM

Thanks but no thanks Prince John for your Sanctuary City Policy. when illegal's are causing masses unemployment in the African American community.

Posted by: Greg Shock | September 25, 2008 2:52 PM

I strongly recommend to Senor Troya to take up Mr. Bansley on his offer of an Italian Consulate truly is, as described, splendid.

Posted by: EDISON ALDAZ | September 28, 2008 11:53 AM

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