As Moya’s Prospects Improve, So Does Ecuadoreans’ Clout in the City

Participants of the Ecuadorean parade in Queens in Andean motifs (Photo via El Diario)

[Below are excerpts from a story by El Diario’s David Ramírez] 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio marched at the head of a group of municipal government officials which included Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblymember Francisco Moya – of Ecuadorean descent – and state Sen. José Peralta. The last two were the obvious choice to host the event, as they represent the district where the event took place. The parade marches along a large section of Northern Boulevard.

The Ecuadorian Parade celebrated its 35th edition in New York City. On Sunday, Aug. 13, the celebrations to commemorate Ecuador’s independence will close with an arts festival on the lawn in front of the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

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[Below are excerpts from another story by David Ramírez]

Francisco Moya (front) and Mayor Bill de Blasio during the Ecuadorian Parade. (Photo via El Diario)

More than one person has their eyes set on the District 21 seat Council member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland will be leaving vacant: (…) Cristina Furlong, Erycka Montoya, Yonel Letellier-Sosa, Hiram Monserrate and Francisco Moya all aspire to replace her. However, judging from the endorsements made known last weekend by key figures of the party’s ranks, Moya seems to be the chosen one of Queens’ Democratic machine.

The opportunity could not have come at a better time for Moya. Yesterday, during the Ecuadorean parade, the Assemblymember took the megaphone and promoted his campaign, overshadowing the presence of Mayor de Blasio and other guest officials.

In recent days, Moya received the public support of Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio himself. Thus, Moya became the only Ecuadorean-American politician in the country to run for a high-level seat of this kind.

“Francisco Moya has dedicated his career to fighting to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers. He has worked tirelessly to obtain the approval of legislation to support domestic violence survivors, protect reproductive rights and guarantee equal pay regardless of gender,” said Mark-Viverito via press release.

For his part, de Blasio said: “This is the type of leadership we deserve to have in the City Council and, with Francisco Moya as our new council member for District 21, we will have a true champion in the city’s government.”

Latinos divided between Moya and Monserrate  

[Below are excerpts from a story by Queens Latino’s Gloria Medina]

Two Latinos, Francisco Moya and Hiram Monserrate, will vie for the District 21 seat in the New York City Council (…) in the upcoming Sept. 12 Democratic primary.

Queens Latino took a walk around the district’s streets, which includes the neighborhoods of East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, LaGuardia, LeFrak City and part of Flushing Meadows Park, in addition to Roosevelt and 37th Avenue up to 82nd Street.

“I am undecided. Monserrate has a criminal history and Francisco’s ideas only benefit large corporations. Right now, I don’t know who I will vote for,” said 34-year-old Verónica Arteaga as she walked in Corona. Her opinion represents the generalized sentiment among voters.

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Hiram Monserrate (center) during the Colombian Parade with his supporters. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

Monserrate’s strength lies in his aggressive personality and in the enthusiasm he has been able to rouse through his campaign, worrying Democrats. The political establishment has expressed that “there is fear that he might win.”

In two neighborhoods in the area, there were conflicting opinions. On 104th Street in Corona, Irene DeBenedittis said that she has known Moya since he was a child and that he has always helped the community. “I will vote for Moya and the whole neighborhood will do the same,” she said.

“I am going to vote for Monserrate because I know his work and he recently came by to support us because they want to take away our voting centers,” said Arlene Night, an African-American resident of LeFrak City, where more than 15,000 people live. “That is a serious problem for seniors and disabled people.”

“I don’t know who will win, as one of them was accused of corruption and domestic violence and the other has no leadership or real reach in the community,” said Walter Sinche, a community activist in Queens. “I cannot vote because I live outside the area but, if I could, I would not vote for any of them.”

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After he walked around the neighborhood saying hello and taking pictures with constituents, Monserrate decided to talk to Queens Latino. He was cheerful and had much to say against Moya. He called his rival a “puppet” of the Democratic Party and “a zero” because none of his bills has been approved. He also described him as a “sellout” and “arrogant.”

For his part, in a press release in English Moya himself sent us via email, he referred to Monserrate as a “violent criminal” and an “erratic egomaniac.”

“Hiram Monserrate will never be able to win because he represents a clear and present danger to the future of our community,” reads the document, adding that Monserrate is “persona non-grata” in the council because of his criminal history.

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Ecuadorean presence grows

The Ecuadorean community continues to grow in Corona and Jackson Heights, Queens. (Photo via El Diario)

[Below are excerpts from a story by El Diario’s Edwin Martínez]

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Despite the fact that, according to official census data, 380,000 Ecuadoreans live in New York, most of them in Queens, studies say that the number could be greater and that, unlike other communities, their presence began to grow 17 years ago.

“Although Ecuadoreans have a long history of migration into New York and Queens since the 1960s, it was between the years 2000 and 2008 that the community grew significantly – 55.5 percent. Even though this has slowed down a bit, we are now seeing many indigenous people coming in,” said Victoria Stone-Cadena, director of outreach and public relations at CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies.

“Ecuadoreans as a force are growing considerably and, as a social movement – in terms of education and earnings – they are on par with other Hispanic groups thanks to their entrepreneurial success, as is visible on every corner,” said the researcher, who has a Ph.D. in anthropology and is an expert on Ecuadorean affairs.

Oswaldo Guzmán, president of the organization Ecuadorian Civic Committee, also testified to the boom seen in his community, particularly in Queens, saying that it has become an unstoppable force at an economic level.

“The Ecuadorean community has seen enormous expansion, and we are the largest population in Corona, Queens. We are hardworking people who know how to fight to get ahead, and we contribute to the progress of Queens and New York in general,” said the community leader, adding that Ecuadoreans have great respect for their traditions. “We are a fighting community who start businesses, and we keep our roots alive through initiatives such as a little school we have called ‘Aprendiendo de mi Ecuador’ [‘Learning about My Ecuador’] which many children attend to learn about the country. We are also people with a great deal of solidarity, as we demonstrated after the earthquake that hit Ecuador, for which we were able to collect $200,000 and built 34 houses in Manta.”

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  1. Pingback: The Fate of Rosie Mendez’s Seat – and Other Campaign Headlines for Tuesday August 8 | City Limits

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