Although his case is not yet covered by the European "Return Directive" against undocumented migrants that will enter into force from 2010, Mercado was caught by the police without the necessary documents for staying in
The Bolivian embassy in
Mercado waived the procedure to annul the deportation order because he no longer finds many job opportunities in an economy that is in crisis. He decided instead to go back home to support his wife in looking after their children, who have become unruly since their father left.
"It’s not worth spending my small savings waiting for the economic situation to improve. I plan to go back home to live as a poor person, but with more dignity," he said.
The media in
The Bolivian community is one of the most vulnerable groups in
They tend to rebuild whole families, towns and neighbourhoods in the new country, and this has limited their capacity to interact with other groups or to attend European cultural and social centres, Pérez says.
"If you add to that the growing fear of police detention, we find they are increasingly isolated in a continent where movement within and outside of cities should be easier," he commented.
In 2007, cash remittances sent by Bolivian workers abroad amounted to 869 million dollars, 341 million dollars more than in the previous year, according to a Central Bank report.
This figure represents approximately 12 percent of
Bolivian President Evo Morales spoke emphatically against the restrictive directive on the return of undocumented migrants approved by the European Parliament, and complained that the measure violates human rights. In retaliation, the president required visas for Europeans wishing to enter
Bolivians who go to Europe generally have one of two plans in mind: the first is to settle there and bring over the rest of their family, and the second is to return to
For the time being, good behaviour and respect for local laws is the best recommendation possessed by Teresa Suárez, who was born in the eastern Bolivian
Esteban Castro, from the central Bolivian city of
"Fortunately I have computer skills and can do work for fellow Bolivians and other Latin Americans. I used to earn 1,300 euros a month, but now I barely make 800," he said, regretting the failure of his plan to bring his family to
Sandra Torrez is a commercial engineer who lived in the
"In a church, the employment coordinator said that newly arrived Bolivians should not be paid much because they don’t understand the value of money, they have no experience and they don’t know how to cook…" Torrez recalled.
She has witnessed plain clothes police enter restaurants and telephone companies where they detain undocumented Bolivians and serve them deportation orders. (END/2008)
Republished from IPS