Asylum Access Ecuador refugee Story

Marco’s Story

Marco never expected for his life to change so dramatically over such a short period of time. As a gay activist in Cuba, he suffered from constant harassment by the police. The harassment gradually worsened, to point where he had difficulty maintaining a job and even an apartment. After years of abuse, Marco finally had the chance to escape from Cuba and traveled to Ecuador.

In Ecuador, Marco no longer faced persecution by the police, but found himself enduring precarious living conditions. Unable to afford rent, he was forced to stay at a shelter with barely enough money to buy food. Alone and without a community to rely on for support, Marco became depressed. Six weeks passed before he applied for refugee status and, when he did, he was immediately denied admission because of a recent Ecuadorian law, Executive Decree 1182, a restrictive decree that requires asylum seekers to apply for status within 15 business days of entry.

Marco was running out of options, and when he heard about Asylum Access Ecuador (AAE), he came in for advice. At AAE, Marco’s case worker contacted UNHCR to enroll Marco into their refugee resettlement program. Simultaneously, other refugee-assisting organizations were approached that could help Marco with immediate humanitarian assistance.

Nearly one year and four months after coming to AAE for help, Marco was successfully resettled to the United States and reunited with a family member already living there.