The Venezuelan Exodus


Nearly 5 million people have fled Venezuela as the South American country spirals into an economic and political crisis. Hyperinflation has turned country's currency, Bolivars, into little more than colorful scraps of paper, leaving people starving. Meanwhile the authoritarian government of President Nicolás Maduro stamps out opposition, often violently.


Migrants flee across the region, landing everywhere from Colombia, to Peru, to Chile. The mass-migration is one of the biggest in the world, surpassed by only Syria, yet in international aid, migrants receive pennies on the dollar compared to their Syrian counterparts.


The lack of aid has had serious humanitarian ripple effects, which I have documented over years of reporting on the crisis in Colombia. Medical facilities, soup kitchens and migrant shelters are overwhelmed by influx of people, unable to meet the needs of the growingly vulnerable populations arriving to their doorstep. Unable to afford bus tickets, families walk sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles through extreme conditions. The Colombia-Venezuela border region is defined by instability, violence, illegal groups, human trafficking and more, pushing fleeing Venezuelans to extremes.

Venezuelan migrants cross the the Colombia-Venezuela border on September 13, 2019 near Cúcuta, Colombia.   ···  
Migrants push together as they wait to enter a soup kitchen along the Colombia-Venezuela border in Cúcuta, Colombia on Feb. 6, 2019.   ···  
A two-week old baby sleeps while his mother eats in migrant shelter on the Colombia-Venezuela border near Cúcuta, Colombia on September 11, 2019.   ···  
A student in the Colombia-Venezuela border town of Paraguachon, Colombia peers out the clay building at her classmate on May 7, 2019. Venezuelan students at the school, called "pendulum kids," cross illegally from Venezuela to Colombia every day for class   ···  
Maria Carrillo, an 18-year-old Venezuelan migrant, holds her 5-month-old baby outside a medical clinic on the Colombia-Venezuela border on February 9, 2019.   ···  
Venezuelan migrants Margareth Gonzales, 55, and her daughter Arianny Gonzales, 20, play with 8-month-old Isaacc inside their family's refugee camp tent in Maicao, Colombia on May 6, 2019.   ···  
Bolivars, Venezuelan currency that has lost nearly all value as hyper-inflation grips the country, hand from a migrant rest stop on the route migrants take as they walk from the Colombia-Venezuela border fleeing the country, on September 12, 2019. The mig   ···  
Activists and police cover their mouths to protect themselves from the Venezuelan military's tear gas on Simon Bolivar border crossing on February 23, 2019.   ···  
Dainer Garcia, his 7-month-pregnant wife and 4-, 3- and 1-year-old children left Aragua, Venezuela without a cent and are walking to Ecuador, carrying the kids along the way.

"In Venezuela there isn't anything, there's not enough medicine for her to give   ···  
Venezuelan migrant Fabiana Correa Martinez, 4, kisses the belly of her pregnant mother Nairobi Correa Martinez in a migrant soup kitchen in Cucuta, Colombia on February 9, 2019. The migrants fled starvation and collapse in Venezuela, but after learning th   ···  
San Jose Hospital on the Venezuela border town of Maicao, Colombia has seen a surge in pregnant Venezuelan immigrants flooding into its doors as the country's medical system collapses. With it has come a surge in high-risk pregnancies, maternal and infant   ···  
Venezuelan migrant Yulianis Rodriguez throws her head back in pain as she gives birth in a public hospital in Maicao, Colombia on May 5, 2019. The young migrant bites down on a towel in her mouth to help with the pain.   ···  
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