Venezuelan Refugees Heading Home As the Bogotá Covid Lockdown Destroys Hope of a Better Life

Venezuelan Refugees Heading Home As the Bogotá Covid Lockdown Destroys Hope of a Better Life

Veneuelan youth searching the Trash to find Food. Voice of America / Public domain

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

One of the saddest stories I have read in a long time; starving Venezuelan socialism refugees who were welcomed into neighbouring Colombia, are now heading back home to a bleak future in Venezuela, after the Colombian Covid lockdown prevented them from earning a living in their new home.

‘Get me back to Caracas’: desperate Venezuelans leave lockdown Bogotá

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá @joeparkdan
Sat 4 Jul 2020 17.30 AEST

“I left Venezuela because the situation was so bad that I couldn’t feed my family,” Vera says, as cars whizz along the highway that cuts through the impromptu camp. “I never thought that here I wouldn’t be able to feed myself.”

Venezuela, despite having the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, is mired in economic and social ruin. Hyperinflation is rampant, rendering the currency, the bolivar, practically useless, while food shortages are a daily reality.

More than 4 million Venezuelans have now left, with about 5,000 crossing into neighbouring Colombia each day at the end of last year, according to data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Nearly 2 million live in Colombia.

But now, with lockdown shuttering businesses and keeping customers away, there is little work for Venezuelans such as Vera. Unable to pay rent, she was evicted from the house she shared with other migrants in the south of Bogotá. She has spent the past month camped outside a bus terminal on the northern outskirts of the city. Vera, like the 430 others here, would rather be home in Venezuela, where at least shelter is guaranteed. “I can knock on doors but if there’s no work, what can I do?” Vera asks, as she washes her clothes in a stream. “Going home is the only option I have.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jul/04/get-me-back-to-caracas-desperate-venezuelans-leave-lockdown-bogota

In 2011, Bernie Sanders described Venezuela as the new home of the American Dream. From Bernie Sanders’ website;

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?

Nobody knows what will happen when the refugees return home to Venezuela. Distributing any kind of aid in Venezuela is difficult, because the Maduro government frequently refuses external help, as part of a brutal, pointless effort to maintain the fiction that Venezuela is not suffering severe economic problems.

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July 6, 2020 at 04:32PM

Author: uwe.roland.gross

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