Thursday 24 June 2021

Displaced Venezuelans face poverty and pandemic in Colombia

According to official statistics, there are more than 3,200 cases of COVID-19 in Colombia and there have been at least 144 deaths. As the number of cases rises, President Ivan Duque has extended a nationwide lockdown to at least April 26. He has pledged to support citizens who will lose their livelihoods.

Since 2016, more than 4.6 million Venezuelan have fled the country, mostly to other Latin American countries like Colombia. Photo: UNHCR/Fabio Cuttica

This does not extend to most of the migrants in Colombia, many of whom work in low-paid informal jobs.

There are about 1.5 million Venezuelans currently living in Colombia. Many of them work informally.

- Advertisement -

Venezuelans who have lost their jobs may also face homelessness if they can no longer pay their rent. Others already live on the streets. Thousands of Venezuelans have decided to make the trek home – back to Venezuela — even though it might be hundreds of kilometers long for many of them and the border between Colombia and Venezuela is officially closed.

‘This dangerous route’

Yuri Mendoza is 17 years old and five months pregnant. She started her journey back to Venezuela in Cali, Colombia’s third-biggest city, where she used to sell lemonade and candy at intersections. But she was shooed on by police and told to go back to where she came from.

- Advertisement -

“Venezuela is my home,” Mendoza said, “and, if something happens to me, it should be there.” She decided to return via the same route she had taken a year before: a two-week walk across the mountains.

Mendoza had left Venezuela during the economic fallout from the political upheaval that followed the 2013 death of President Hugo Chavez. Venezuela’s domestic situation has not improved and is likely to get worse as global oil prices plunge. Furthermore, the already-deteriorated healthcare system is not in a position to cope with coronavirus patients.

Juan Carlos Atacho is 32 and has been living with his wife and three children in an impoverished district of Colombia’s capital, Bogota, for a year. He used to work in a hair salon, earning US$7 per day. The salon was forced to close for the lockdown. The family lost their only source of income, and the rent is due in a few days.

Atacho said the family would only go back to Venezuela if it were their very last option.

After the borders were closed, the only route back is illegal, which means dealing with smugglers and drug dealers. “I will not take this dangerous route with my children again,” he said.

Studies of current and former citizens of Venezuela indicated that reasons for leaving the country included lack of freedom, high levels of insecurity and lack of opportunity. Image from https://www.worldbank.org

Officials in Colombia and Venezuela are negotiating a humanitarian corridor.

- Advertisement -

“It is a difficult situation because we don’t want any Venezuelans or anybody to be on the streets while the country is under lockdown,” said Felipe Munoz, the Colombian government’s commissioner for migration.

“Venezuela let in about 1,000 people in recent days,” he added, expressing optimism that this would continue.

Article originally appeared on Q Colombia and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Long lines and confusion as Venezuela begins COVID-19 vaccination

Q24N (Reuters) Hundreds of senior citizens and health workers stood in...

Colombia surpasses 80,000 COVID-19 deaths; ICU’s nearly full

QCOLOMBIA – Confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Colombia passed 80,000 on...

MOST READ

Weather, friendly locals, cost of living: expats in Mexico, Costa Rica enjoy same things

EXPAT FOCUS (MND) Of course it was no surprise that readers of Mexico News Daily voted Mexico as the No. 1 expat destination in...

Ortegs regime requests Russia’s armament and military preparation to face “threats of terrorism”

TODAY NICARAGUA – Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigú, revealed during the IX International Security Conference in Moscow that the Government of Nicaragua requested...

Rodolfo Méndez rules out new contracts for MECO and H Solís

QCOSTARICA - No more soup for you! If the Minister of Public Works and Transport (MOPT), Rodolfo Méndez, has his way, the H. Solís...

Today’s Covid News: Average daily deaths from Covid-19 begins to decline

QCOSTARICA - The week of June 13 to 19 registered a decrease in the average number of deaths due to Covid-19, when 20 daily...

Today 50 years ago: Costa Rica and Panama entered into conflict over air routes

TODAY COSTA RICA - Original text published in La Nacion on June 23, 1971 - A conflict over air routes, has been unleashed between...

Will that be Cash or Sinpe Móvil?

QCOSTARICA - Sinpe Móvil is easy to use. From your phone, you can send money to friends, family and pay for things. Or receive...

Informants assisted OIJ in corruption investigations, says the minister

QCOSTARICA - The investigation into alleged bribery of public officials in exchange for contracts for road works, received help from informants within the Consejo...

Carlos Alvarado: “Don Rodolfo has my confidence”

QCOSTARICA - President Carlos Alvarado said he has all the confidence in his Minister of Public Works and Transport (MOPT, Rodolfo Méndez Mata, and...

New tax exemptions would be the hook to attract high-tech and science companies

QCOSTARICA - Strengthen the attraction of Costa Rica to attract high-tech, innovative, and science companies to invest, is an initiative that stands out in...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Q Colombia and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.