Next Avenue: Violence, crime and corruption: A cautionary tale for those looking to retire abroad

by | Nov 15, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from For many years, the coastal South American country of Ecuador had it all for Americans considering retiring abroad: great weather, a low cost of living and beautiful beaches. Ecuador ranked No. 4 in International Living magazine’s Best Countries to Retire Abroad in 2023.

In many parts of Ecuador today, however, it’s a very different and scary story. “Ecuador Was a Retirement Paradise for Americans. Then the Drug Gangs Arrived,” The Wall Street Journal recently reported, noting that some U.S. expats have fled the country or plan to sell their homes. A New York Times headline read: “How Narco Traffickers Unleashed Violence and Chaos in Ecuador.” In his first speech as Ecuador’s new president last week, Daniel Noboa said “tomorrow we begin to rebuild a country that has been severely hit by violence, corruption and hatred.” Plus: A few social skills worth learning if you want to retire abroadState department warning The U.S. State Department has issued alarm bells, too. The entire country of Ecuador now gets a Level 2 warning: Exercise Increased Caution. Lief Simon, who writes Live and Invest Overseas’ Offshore Living Letter, says he takes that warning seriously. Four areas in Ecuador have Level 4: Do Not Travel warnings, since U.S. government personnel are limited in their ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there. Five other spots get this Level 3: Reconsider Travel caution: “Transnational criminal groups and local gangs have sporadically engaged in violent criminal activity in these areas, with violence increasing in recent months.” To be sure, in many places around Ecuador — especially away from cocaine-transporting Pacific coast ports — people aren’t trading beach umbrellas for bulletproof vests. Edd and Cynthia Staton, expats and writers at “Retirement Reimagined” love living in Cuenca, Ecuador, high in the Andes. They recently moved back there after investigating other potential locales around the world and just signed a four-year lease on their apartment. In Cuenca, Cynthia says, “People ar …

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