Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Venezuela - Where go thou?

Colombia and Venezuela are next door neighbour's and we're also part of one large country with Bolivia and Panama after the regions hard fought independence from Spain led by Simon Bolivar.

The first Venezuelan refugees we saw were in Villa de Leyva. A man trailed by two young boys, looking disheveled and worn, went to the kitchen door in the French restaurant we were eating lunch at.

The father begged for food for his children. The waiter asked how many they were and the father pointed outside. The waiter told him to wait in the courtyard.

As we walked out we saw the father , now with his wife and two boys sitting on the stairs. She and her husband looked sad and worried.

In Santa Marta closer to the border the many beggars on the streets are apparently all Venezuelan. Over 1 and a half million refugees have flooded into colombia.

The refugees sell sweets, and small bon bons in hope for a donation. They clean and squeegee car windows wanted or not, begging for change.

Along the streets  you see mean holding huge thick wads of bills which they try and trade for any valid currency. The bills are millions of worthless Venezuelan dollars.

The colombians are by and large very sympathetic to the refugees. When things were not so good here 10 years ago or so and Venezuela was booming many Colombians went there to make money and feel like they owe the Venezuelans for their current success.

Yet there is unrest. Venezuelans will work illegally for half minimum wage pushing down wages across the board. This morning a large protest in Santa Marta about salaries.

And just now while writing this over breakfast on the hotel rooftop, two military jets scream by doing some kind of practice flying over the city and then disappear into the distance.

Colombians look warily to their border a mere few hundred kilometers dead east.

All that oil,  they say, waiting below the ground.


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