No doubt as many of you have heard, or maybe experienced yourselves, the horror stories of people getting involved with the wrong people in applying for residency are horrendous. People have lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars and still not gotten their cedula. It’s a mess!

President Correa has proposed new legislation to reduce the number of Visas from eighteen to four, which will help. Part of his reason is to eliminate the many crooks who call themselves “facilitators”, some of whom even work with organized crime to rob people after they arrive in Quito.

Knowing this I tried to make certain I was dealing with people who would not rip me off. I was referred to Katty Fajardo Jaramillo, who calls herself Helping Hands. Almost sounds like a charity, doesn’t it? My road to getting my cedula was complicated but my cedula was approved and Kathy was paid in full for the work she had done. Because of other circumstances, mostly uncertainty about being able to get my insulin, I asked her to hold off on paying the $350 I had sent her for the government fee, which she acknowledged in an email.

The combination of being ripped off by my former landlady, Jessica Karina Alban​, the falling Canadian dollar and primarily not being able to get my insulin meant I had no choice but to go back to Canada. I contacted Kathy to return the $350 and my passport as soon as possible because I needed it to fly back. She responded by telling me that she had made three trips from Cuenca to Guayaquil on my behalf, for which she normally charges $60 for each trip, but gave no details on what exactly she did on these trips. She had no authorization to do anything and there was nothing to do anyway. She just spent my money and tried to cover her ass by making things up. She said she had two kids to support, although that made it okay to steal my money.

My experience here has certainly not been good, but the point is that these unscrupulous people simply give Ecuador a bad reputation. I urge people to thoroughly check out whoever you are dealing with, never give them any money until they actually do any work for you, and hold them accountable at every stage. Avoid my costly mistake in trusting someone who does not deserve it.