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“Todos Somos Migrantes” (We Are All Migrants): The Paradoxes of Innovative State-led Transnationalism in Ecuador


  • I am grateful to Gioconda Herrera for making possible my stay at FLACSO, Ecuador, during summer 2009 to conduct field research, to Lorena Araujo and Mercedes Eguiguren Jiménez for facilitating the access to materials and interviews, and to Carmen Diana Deere, Philip Williams, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.


This study explores when, why, and how the Ecuadorian state has implemented programs and policies aimed at reaching out to its nationals living abroad. The evidence shows an increasing activism on the part of the state that has intensified under Rafael Correa’s administration and acquired some innovative traits; it has also translated into foreign policy actions that have placed Ecuador in a leadership role in the Andean region. The timing, motivation, and nature of those transnational policies do not exactly fit the assumptions and typologies of existing literature on the subject. The characteristics of this case, as well as some contradictions and tensions in policy content and implementation, are better explained by domestic political factors such as the nature and internal dynamics of the coalition in government, the political discourse that helped to sell and give shape to Correa’s political project, and the serious institutional instability and fragility in which an ambitious new reform of the state has been launched.