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152266.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:04 am Reply with quote

I'm reading a guide to this fine country and it says that members of the Sikh religion require a visa irrespective of their nationality. Is this common to other countries? Does anyone know why they would discriminate in this way?


152304.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:21 am Reply with quote

Many countries require a visa of anyone of whatever nationality who seeks to gain entrance, so Ecuador certainly wouldn't be the only land where all Sikhs will need a visa.

Among countries which do not require a visa of all visitors, Pakistan also appears to require a visa of all Sikhs seeking entry. That said, there are only seven countries whose nationals do not require a visa to enter Pakistan anyways so it's probably not significant in practice. (The seven are Iceland, Maldives, Nepal, Samoa, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago and Zambia - and of those only Nepal and T&T have Sikhs in any number.)

Anecdotally, it's rather difficult for Sikhs to gain admission to the USA. The Department of Justice seems to think that Sikhs seeking asylum must inevitably be economic migrants and is less than keen.

(Possible subtext: Sikhs from India are unlikely to choose the USA as their country of first resort, since it's rather a long way away. But there are quite a lot of Sikhs in Canada ...)

This leaves the question of what Ecuador has against Sikhs, and I don't know. The country is overwhelmingly Catholic, but doesn't impose such requirements on (for instance) Muslims so it's not just a matter of not especially welcoming people of any other faith.

152308.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:33 am Reply with quote

It is very strange. According to this book, "South American Handbook" by Footprint, tourists from places such as Europe or North America do not need visas unless they are Sikh.

I've checked the rest of the book, and no other S American country seems to have this same condition, interestingly citizens of the Republic of Ireland are the only Western Europeans to need a tourist visa to visit Columbia.

152340.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:51 am Reply with quote

Is that in case they're offering arms to FARC?

152355.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:26 pm Reply with quote

That's what I thought, but again, in my book there's no explanation. I've e-mailed the Ecuadorian Embassy about the sikh issue, and will report any reply here.

152862.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:30 am Reply with quote

Still no news from the embassy, ah well. I wonder if anyone can help me with any of the following "facts" which I found on that there internet. Basically I'm wondering if anyone can find an authoritative source proving or disproving the following:

Ecuador has the world’s greatest concentration of volcanoes.

Despite covering a mere 0.02% of the world's land mass, Ecuador is home to 10% of the world's plant and animal species.

Ecuador has the highest biodiversity on the planet, holding approximately 18% of the world bird species and 10% of the world orchid species.

Ecuador has the most rivers per square kilometer in the world.

152908.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:06 am Reply with quote

As silly as it sounds I'd imagine that the Irish need visas for exactly the reason stated above, in case they are dealing arms.

Obviously while this is not a trait of most Irish people (we are much more likely to want to trade alcohol) the precident was set and now we all need visas, which by the way I didn't know until now

153333.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:29 pm Reply with quote

Further to eggshaped's request for authoritative info on some Ecuador facts, I was wondering if anyone can confirm or deny the following:

Apparently there is a statue in the plaza of Guayaquil to famed Ecuadorean poet José Joaquín de Olmedo. Not much unusual there, you may think, but budgetary constraints meant that they couldn't afford an original statue, and so they added Olmedo's name to a second-hand one depicting Lord Byron.

I'd love some definitive answer to this - I've only been able to find various versions of the same anecdote. Pictures would be super.

153345.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:04 pm Reply with quote

I think this may be the statue you mean:

Unfortunately, the accompanying news article is in Norwegian, and my Norwegian is a bit rusty (cough). However, the caption under the picture says "Lord Byron som ecuadorianske José Joaquín de Olmedo" which looks as if it might be the one you're referring to - there can't be two, surely?

For those whose Norwegian is better than mine, the article can be found at

153347.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:12 pm Reply with quote

Excellent work, Jenny! Many thanks.

153538.  Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:43 pm Reply with quote

I don't speak Norwegian either, but I can just about read it - mainly by reference to English and German and with the aid of a dictionary.

The gist of it is that the city of Guayaquil wanted to commemorate Olmedo, who had achieved much as a poet and as a politician [he had also been President of Ecuador], but the price of having a statue of him made was more than the council could afford.

For rather less money, they arranged to purchase a disused statue of Byron which was available from London and placed this in the city park for all to see.

So very much as samivel said, in fact. The whole story begins to sound rather plausible, with one reservation.

Byron died aged 36, and the man in that statue looks to me to be of more mature years. I was hoping Spanish language Wiki might help, but its entry for Olmedo makes no mention of the statue.

This doesn't seem to be the same statue, and the photo isn't good enough to tell whether or not it looks anything like Byron.

153558.  Sun Mar 04, 2007 5:00 pm Reply with quote

The name on that statue is A.Olmedo though, suze, and the poet's name is Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, so maybe it's another Olmedo?

Hans Mof
153609.  Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:12 pm Reply with quote

There are in fact two statues of Olmedo in Guayaquil. One dedicated to him and another one in which he has to share his admirers with three other authors (Antepara, Febres Cordero and Villamil).

This is the statue that is believed to be a second hand Byron:

The inscription says “A Olmedo“ (To Olmedo)

This is without doubt Olmedo and no other person, how it has been said carelessly or even viciously. There is a stunning match between the statue and an oil portrait. The portrait is held by the Illingworth Baquerizo family and is an heirloom of their ancestor Magdalena Olmedo, the poet‘s only sister.

The display of Olmedo sitting and with a countenance never seen before, lead to speculations that it might not be Olmedo but Lord Byron, who, due to one leg being shorter than his other, had a limp and has always been depicted comfortably sitting.

The statue doesn‘t show Olmedo as a poet at work but as Presedential Representative of Guayaquil, he held this function from 1820 to 1822.

The statue is a work of Parisian artist R. Falguiéres. The granite pedestal was designed by G. Chedanne. The overal costs (including roadworks, landscaping and the statues transport from Europe) amounted to 37,000 Pesos.

153779.  Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:08 am Reply with quote

Thank you all muchly.


153946.  Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:19 pm Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:

The inscription says “A Olmedo“ (To Olmedo)

Oh duh!


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