News / Europe

Spain's Economic Slide Hits Latin American Immigrants Hard

Al Pessin
Spain’s economic crisis, including 25 percent unemployment, has hit members of its Latin-American immigrant community particularly hard.  During the boom years in the 1990s, Spain absorbed more than seven-million Latin-American immigrants, increasing its population by nearly 20 percent.  And when the economic crisis hit in 2008, most of the jobs they came to do in construction and household work disappeared, leaving few with money to send home or even enough cash to make a call.
 
As a result, it is a slow morning at this cafe in Madrid’s largely Latin American Tetuan neighborhood.  Ecuadorian Waitress Rosario Leon has been in Spain for 16 years.  She still has a job, but she is concerned about the future for herself and her two teenaged daughters.
 
“It worries me a lot, and it hurts me a little, having to contemplate going back to my country," said Leon. "We came here in search of a better future for our children and we managed to more or less succeed.”
 
But the past four years have shown just how fragile that success was.  Unemployed mechanic Miguel Poeda, 64, came from Ecuador 14 years ago and worked mostly at construction sites.
 
“I am taking the ‘Voluntary Return’ program," Poeda said. "I will get all my unemployment benefits. We are given this opportunity to be able to return home because the situation here is going from bad to worse.”
 
Millions of other unemployed Latin-American workers in Spain are facing the same difficult decision, as they seek help at shelters and soup kitchens, and desperately look for work.
 
Unemployed Colombian domestic worker Blanca Africano hopes holding up a sign will help her find a job.
 
“Because of the crisis you can not find work. I have been in this crisis for four years already. I take care of seniors, I can take care of a baby, or I clean, I cook, I can do all the domestic chores of Spain," she said.
 
But her chances of finding work in Spain’s depressed economy are slim.
 
Forty kilometers and a world away at Madrid’s Autonomous University, the fate of Latin-American workers is on the mind of Economics Professor Federico Steinberg, who came to Spain as a child from Argentina.

“It is expected that an important number, I cannot give you a figure, would leave," Steinberg said. "[They] would either go to their home countries in Latin America or to other developed countries.  That is going to be the only way to solve that situation because it is unlikely that we are going to see another real estate bubble in Spain for the next 30 years.”
 
Experts say it will not take that long to turn the country’s economy around, but after four years of recession even a few more years would be too long for many of Spain’s immigrants.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark L from: Costa Rica
October 28, 2012 9:46 AM
As an American living in Costa Rica, which happens to be doing pretty OK for the most part. I am confused as to why Latin Americans living in a country 16 years plus don't have any money saved or a place to call home in their home country. This was nothing but poor planning on their part. It was obvious that countries like Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador were going to experience growth. Latin Americans need to stay informed instead of chasing homes to clean and baby to sit. That's the plain fact.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid