Civilian go about their day despite politica turmoil //Kaylee Alzamora

By: Kaylee Alzamora, Staff Writer

Can you picture being left with no other option but to leave your country and move to another one to start a new life, while leaving all of your family behind not knowing when you’ll see them again?

It’s hard to imagine, I know, but this is the life of thousands of Venezuelans everyday having to leave their country, just to go to another country to make money, so their families can have a hot meal on the table every day.

One of the main countries that many Venezuelans go to is Peru. That’s where I come into play. I spent this whole summer in Peru visiting, traveling, but mostly observing. Let me tell you, you don’t have to be from Peru or go far to realize the amount of Venezuelans that are now living in Peru.

The numbers are crazy; everywhere you go, you will see at least one Venezuelan either hanging out, walking through town, or eating at a restaurant, but they’re mainly working. Every now and then, you will see them living life and forgetting about everyday worries, but nine times out of ten, you will always see them working.

They are always working in anything and everything, and that’s what’s inspiring. It’s not easy to go from being a doctor or an engineer to going out in the streets to sell candy or sell  coffee. But they do it despite the title they had back in Venezuela, and despite all the years they had studied for that title. They go out and they do what they have to in order to help out out their families, because they know it’s the only way.

Venezuela is going through a tough time right now as a country. The amount of money people are making isn’t enough to even buy a piece of bread. People are dying in the hospitals because they don’t have enough money for the medicines or resources they need. There are riots everyday, people are suffering, and the only thing Nicolas Maduro, the current president of Venezuela, does is make things worse.

Because of this whole situation, many Venezuelans have resorted to leaving Venezuela and going to other countries. At the moment there are about 400,000 Venezuelans living in Peru ,and there are about 5,000 Venezuelans that come into Peru everyday.

I got the opportunity to talk to Rodulfo Caceres, a Venezuelan that has been living in Peru for the past two years. I asked him about his life back in Venezuela and what it was like: “I left my grandma, wife and daughter back in Venezuela. My parents passed away when I was young, so my grandma raised me. Words can’t explain how hard it was for me to make the choice to leave, but I had to,” he said.

“I worked as an engineer, and the money still wasn’t enough: just to give you an idea, minimum wage is 42,000 bolivares and a pair of pants on their own is 60,000 bolivares. Minimum wage can’t even get you a pair of pants, so I had to make a tough choice.” he said.

I then asked about his time in Peru and how things went for him when he first got there. “It was hard to adapt at first to other customs and to a whole different lifestyle, but I was lucky enough to have found a job quickly. Many others don’t have the same luck and that’s the reason why they have to go out and sell pastries or coffee to make money to send back until they get their working papers,” he told me.

Lastly, I asked him if he would ever consider going back to Venezuela and his answer was simple but concise, “Yes, but not anytime soon. Of course like any person I miss my country, most of all my family, but what can I do if I leave now? I will be stuck in the same situation with no money, starving and even worse things because I wouldn’t be able to leave. The president has shut down all the exits from the country. Peru has received me with open arms and this will be my country until there is a change in Venezuela.” he said.

And just like him, there are many other Venezuelans with similar stories, having to leave it all behind to start fresh in another country. They go as far as to going to small towns hours away from the city just to find work. I traveled to a small town surrounded by mountains called Churin that is about 4 hours away from Lima, the capital of Peru, and there were a bunch of Venezuelans there, and this is a town where the nearest hospital is two hours away.

It really shows there struggle and everything they are going through. It’s really inspiring to see everything they are doing, despite everything that is going on, and having to leave their families behind. They are keeping a positive attitude through it all because they know it’s the only way to get through it.  For this and many other reasons. we want you to know that Peru stands by you Venezuela. Stay strong.