|Two young men from Venezuela sell arepas on Plaza San Victorino recently.|
|A Venezuelan man and boy ask for money - supposedly for |
other Venezuelans - near Bogotá's Plaza Bolivar.
The reasons are obvious: Venezuela's incompetent, increasingly authoritarian government, has caused the economy to contract nearly 20% and inflation of almost 800%, numbers usually seen only in wartime.
The Caracas Chronicles website calculates that more than 70,000 Venezuelans have come to Colombia - but nobody knows for sure, since many undoubtedly cross the border illegaly.
Venezuelans are a godsend for this year's bumper coffee crop, which is short of pickers. And I suspect that they're also helping collect Colombia's record crop of coca leaves.
|According to this graph from the Caracas Chronicles blog, |
the number of Venezuelans fleeing their nation far exceeds the
number of refugees crossing the Meditarrean to Europe.
What will happen? Venezuelan Pres. Nicolas Maduro seems determined to continue his disastrous economic policies, and shows no sign of sharing power with the oppisition. So, Venezuela will likely continue its economic tailspin, and possibly end up in some sort of civil war.
Expect the Venezuelans to keep coming.
|Many thousands of Venezuelans pack Bogotá's Plaza Bolivar |
during a recent vote arranged by that country's
"The kidnappers won't accept bolivars," the fast-devaluing local currency, she added.
"The social decomposition has been terrible and really fast," she says, adding that "everybody's just out for money."
|According to one poll published by the Caracas Chronicles |
website, the great majority of Venezuelans
want to leave their country.
Yet, she actually seems to sympathise with the criminals. "When your salary is only enough to buy some bread and milk, how can you blame them," for being so desperate? she asks.
She's also sure that the government committed fraud to win majorities in most states in recent regional voting. After all, "who would vote for a government that's keeping you hungry?"
In fact, the Caracas Chronicles blog has published documents they say demonstrate pro-government fraud in the vote.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours