Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on New Findings On Humanities and Social Sciences
Xenophobia, Identity, and Class Conflicts among Venezuelan Migrants: An Ethnographic Study in the City of Ibarra, Ecuador
Jorge David Mantilla,Guadalupe Yapud,Paola Mantilla
During the last decade, Venezuela has experienced a severe economic crisis. As a result, millions of Venezuelans have migrated to neighbor countries. Ecuador, a middle-income South American country, is amongst the places that have received the most Venezuelan migrants. It is estimated that more than 330.000 Venezuelan citizens have migrated to Ecuador during the last five years. This has created a complex scenario, especially in small cities. For instance, during January 2019, the city of Ibarra (population of 140.00 people) experienced a wave of violence against Venezuelan migrants. A few mobs of Ecuadorian citizens tried to “clean” the city of Venezuelan people by committing acts of violence such as stealing goods and trying to force evictions. The academic literature has addressed how solidarity networks are used by migrants in similar contexts in order to cope with xenophobic narratives and the possibility of violence, however, there is a big gap of knowledge about the conflicts among migrants that emerge as a consequence of xenophobic events. Through qualitative and ethnographic data, this paper addresses how the acts of violence against Venezuelan migrants in the city of Ibarra have created conflictive relationships inside this group. The results show the emergence of a new wave of class discrimination among Venezuelan migrants, whereby upper-class migrants blame lower classes of creating a scenario that foster xenophobia.
Keywords: class; ethnography; migration; stereotypes; unrest.