A few weeks ago we discussed the ongoing refugee crisis involving Venezuelans fleeing starvation, disease and violence in their home country. The majority of them have been attempting to travel through Columbia to Ecuador because there are more roads and civilization in general along that route. Some, however, have chosen to take the more dangerous route to the southeast through Brazil, likely heading for Peru and Chile. Unfortunately, while the government of Brazil is officially calling for peace, many Brazilian citizens are angry about the influx of Venezuelan travelers and have taken to attacking them. One group of Brazilian men in the border town of Pacaraima attacked a group of Venezuelan migrants and set fire to their camp. (BBC)
In Pacaraima on Saturday, several migrant encampments were attacked by angry residents following reports that a local restaurant owner had been badly beaten by Venezuelans.
There has been growing animosity towards the numbers of Venezuelan migrants entering Roraima state in recent months.
Gangs of men carrying stones and sticks set fire to tents and other items belonging to the Venezuelans, and more than 1,000 migrants were said to have fled back across the border.
On the Venezuelan side, there were reports that Brazilian cars had been attacked.
The Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro is demanding that Brazil assure the safety of the refugees and their property. It’s a rather ironic statement when you consider that Maduro’s failing socialist policies and rampant corruption are the only reason his people are desperate enough to flee in the first place. But with rumors spreading among the people on both sides of the border about supposed violence being caused by the other side, things don’t appear to be heading for stability any time soon.
Also, the human river flowing out of Venezuela probably won’t be slowing down. As we learned last week, the capital city of Caracas can’t even get potable water into their main hospital or to most of the neighborhoods as their infrastructure continues to break down. Some of the people were making do for food by hunting or even eating pets and zoo animals, but when you run out of drinking water the game is pretty much up.
At the same time, Maduro has attempted to stabilize his worthless currency by artificially forcing the exchange rate down. It’s a move which economists around the world have widely derided as a complete scam. This has led to an immediate need to increase wages across the board. But since the money is basically still worthless paper, employers are saying they will have to lay off employees or close down entirely.
If you were waiting for some good news or a hopeful solution to these problems to show up at the end of the article I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you once again. These people are in desperate trouble, with their own government failing them (when not directly attacking them) and nervous neighbors who will soon be unwilling or unable to take them in. We’re watching the slow-motion implosion of the nation of Venezuela and inevitable collapse of yet another socialist state.