Inflation in Venezuela is likely to reach the million percent this year. The IMF expects that this will rise to no less than 10 million percent in 2019. Salaries and savings are therefore no longer worth anything. Food and medicine are barely available, if at all, and in the streets of Caracas the right of the strongest applies. The result is that millions of Venezuelans flee to countries in Central and South America. Meanwhile, the crisis in Venezuela begins to work disruptive in countries like Peru. The end of the exodus seems far from in sight.
A bridge over a stinking open sewer to the north of the city of Tumbes forms the border between Peru and Ecuador. The smell of rotting meat in the burning sun is terrible. Every day thousands of refugees from Venezuela arrive in Peru. Five young men who have just crossed the border walk behind each other, the gaze tightly focused on the endless asphalt. In a backpack and some plastic bags they wear some clothes and a toilet roll. They have been on their way for 15 days and are dead. The dream of setting up their own company in a new country and building a new life with them, keeps them going.
This is the place where countless refugees come from Venezuela Peru every day. Until recently, most had a good job as a teacher, dentist, nurse or lawyer, but due to the hyperinflation even basic things are no longer available. There are no medicines and supermarkets are empty. Armed robberies, kidnappings and murders are the order of the day. The government reacts by suppressing protests with violence and by arresting critical people. There is no democracy anymore. The result is that more than 3 million Venezuelans have been fleeing.
In november 2018 Bart Coolen and Nienke Monnee traveled to Peru and Ecuador to see with their own eyes what the effect of the refugee crisis is. Peru has already received more than 500,000 Venezuelans. The expectation is that this number will at least double in the coming year. The country is creaking under these numbers and is a ticking time bomb. They spoke to refugees and saw how they try to build up a life in a new country, far from family and friends, by trial and error. They also spoke with local and international aid organizations and visited a first reception location of the United Nations and the Red Cross on the border with Ecuador.
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