Nicholas Casey reports Hungry Venezuelans Flee in Boats to Escape Economic Collapse
Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.
But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.
Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.
Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.
And as Mr. Chávez’s Socialist-inspired revolution collapses into economic ruin, as food and medicine slip further out of reach, the new migrants include the same impoverished people that Venezuela’s policies were supposed to help.
Desperate Venezuelans are streaming across the Amazon Basin by the tens of thousands to reach Brazil. They are concocting elaborate scams to sneak through airports in Caribbean nations that once accepted them freely. When Venezuela opened its border with Colombia for just two days in July, 120,000 people poured across, simply to buy food, officials said. An untold number stayed.
But perhaps most startling are the Venezuelans now fleeing by sea, an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.
The exodus is unfolding so quickly that since 2015 about 30,000 Venezuelans have moved to the border region that includes the Brazilian state of Roraima, officials say. Now the Brazilian Army is boosting patrols along highways and rivers, bracing for even more arrivals.
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Director of the Migration Colombia Christian Krüger reported that legal action will be taken against commercial establishments who employ foreigners without full compliance with the law, such as requiring a work visa.
DollarToday was smart enough to come to my office at Hopkins to get accurate inflation estimates on a regular basis.https://t.co/pXHzppDbdS
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Bloomberg’s reporter doesn’t get the point that Communism doesn’t work: Video starts right away below the fold,