Venezuelan Refugees Heading Home As the Bogotá Covid Lockdown Destroys Hope of a Better Life

Veneuelan youth searching the Trash to find Food. Voice of America / Public domain

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

One of the saddest stories I have read in a long time; starving Venezuelan socialism refugees who were welcomed into neighbouring Colombia, are now heading back home to a bleak future in Venezuela, after the Colombian Covid lockdown prevented them from earning a living in their new home.

‘Get me back to Caracas’: desperate Venezuelans leave lockdown Bogotá

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá @joeparkdan
Sat 4 Jul 2020 17.30 AEST

“I left Venezuela because the situation was so bad that I couldn’t feed my family,” Vera says, as cars whizz along the highway that cuts through the impromptu camp. “I never thought that here I wouldn’t be able to feed myself.”

Venezuela, despite having the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, is mired in economic and social ruin. Hyperinflation is rampant, rendering the currency, the bolivar, practically useless, while food shortages are a daily reality.

More than 4 million Venezuelans have now left, with about 5,000 crossing into neighbouring Colombia each day at the end of last year, according to data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Nearly 2 million live in Colombia.

But now, with lockdown shuttering businesses and keeping customers away, there is little work for Venezuelans such as Vera. Unable to pay rent, she was evicted from the house she shared with other migrants in the south of Bogotá. She has spent the past month camped outside a bus terminal on the northern outskirts of the city. Vera, like the 430 others here, would rather be home in Venezuela, where at least shelter is guaranteed. “I can knock on doors but if there’s no work, what can I do?” Vera asks, as she washes her clothes in a stream. “Going home is the only option I have.

Read more:

In 2011, Bernie Sanders described Venezuela as the new home of the American Dream. From Bernie Sanders’ website;

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?

Nobody knows what will happen when the refugees return home to Venezuela. Distributing any kind of aid in Venezuela is difficult, because the Maduro government frequently refuses external help, as part of a brutal, pointless effort to maintain the fiction that Venezuela is not suffering severe economic problems.

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July 6, 2020 2:15 pm

Interesting comments in this post about a lot of testing fakery going on.

Reply to  icisil
July 6, 2020 2:41 pm

A lot of fakery seems to be going on in Texas. Here’s a video from a comment in the above link about a Texas county that now adds probable cases to the case count. Probable cases don’t require a PCR test, but merely a symptom like cough or fever, and contact with a confirmed case.

Reply to  icisil
July 6, 2020 10:07 pm

believing random tweets.
that’s the liberal standard of evidence bub

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 7, 2020 8:20 am
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 7, 2020 2:59 pm

believing random tweets.

Well should we believe professionals in the industry then?

“‘When I looked at every single hospital area in Texas today, 15-20% of people in the hospital as inpatients are COVID-positive patients. That means 80-85% have nothing to do with COVID-19. And the same thing goes with some of these other states. There are people hospitalized, a large number, because they are tested as COVID-positive, somehow they are categorized as COVID hospitalizations. That’s a problem,’ he said.”

Reply to  icisil
July 6, 2020 10:13 pm

Collin county?
ya they were concerned about the possibility of overcount when they had 17 cases and only 1
according to pcr


people died.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 7, 2020 4:15 am

You’re so desperate to find gotchas. The new inflationary case count criteria are from the Texas health commission, not Collin county, so case counts will be inflated statewide. People died… in a nursing facility… a 91 year old with underlying health conditions… shutdown the country… derp…

Reply to  icisil
July 6, 2020 3:08 pm

There are secular incentives to count twice, thrice, and conflate causes.

Reply to  icisil
July 6, 2020 5:27 pm

…and in other news

CDC: After 10-Week Decline In COVID-19 Deaths, It May Soon No Longer Be An Epidemic

“The United States now has so few deaths due to COVID-19 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday it is approaching the threshold for dipping below the level of an epidemic. The CDC defines an epidemic as an outbreak from which the number of deaths per week exceeds a given percentage of total deaths within the nation. The number of deaths from COVID-19 has steadily declined since hitting its peak in early May after it began spiking in the second week in March….”

William Astley
Reply to  Latitude
July 6, 2020 7:58 pm

Yes. The US death rate for recent Covid cases, is now ballpark 1.7%

And the Florida death rate is 0.19% wow, wow, wow.

What is different in Florida than let say New York. Florida is the sunshine state, beaches, outdoor bars, paradise.

As Vitamin D deficient people are 19 times more likely to die from covid or have serious covid symptoms, as compared to Vitamin D normal people 25(OH)D greater than 30 ng/ml. (4000 UI/person gets the majority of the US population with 25(OH)D > 30 ng/ml.

In the summer a greater portion to the US population are ‘Vitamin’ D.


Using the new CDC and Johns Hopkins data, Breitbart News calculated that South Florida’s death rate was no more than 0.6 as of May 1, down over 80 percent from an estimated 3.6 before the antibodies study.

That mortality rate is between three and eight times lower than the earlier estimates — of two to four percent — that prompted the lockdowns

The 0.6 IFR takes into account the three-week lag, a conservative estimate, between the identification of a COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) infection and when the infected dies.
When taking the data at face value, without accounting for the time it takes for an individual to progress from being diagnosed to dying, Breitbart News determined the death rate was even lower — 0.19 percent.

In comparison, the flu’s death rate in the United State is 0.1 percent on average. Not all fatality rate estimates account for the estimated time between infection and death.

Recent mean death rate 678
Recent mean number of cases 40000

Reply to  icisil
July 8, 2020 9:37 am

What happens to Venezuela? No one knows? Geostrategist Peter Zeihan, in interviews and in his latest book, predicts the worst famine since Ethiopia many decades ago. He darkly jokes that this year may end Venezuelan culture…”outside of Miami.”

Why? No one wants their oil. They can no longer produce it, anyway. And yet they need imported food to live. Without something to trade, no food. Ergo, famine this year. And no one, no country, is up to the task of taking Venezuela over to rebuild for a decade. (Plus, nations are pre-occupied with the virus crisis.)

Reply to  Orson
July 9, 2020 6:24 am

Venezuela used to be a net ag products exporter and now they can’t feed themselves, same thing that happened with Zimbabwe. Already seeing people fleeing the cities, either to get out of country entirely or to get established in subsistence farming just to survive. And yes, Thugo Chavez, and Maduro after him, confiscate farm produce and livestock at gunpoint, giving farmers worthless paper and laughing as they leave.

July 6, 2020 2:29 pm

I hear Vermont is a utopia and they pay people to come there.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 6, 2020 2:46 pm

Vermont is very “green”. Heck, it’s even in their name. You had better like snow, though, or at least tolerate it. They get a ton.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 6, 2020 5:00 pm

It is Utopia, but we have plenty of snow, as Bruce says, and it gets very cold.
Legislature does offer cash to come – they need to improve tax base and so have gone fishing.
Check out our new “Global Warming Solutions Act” as if there is global warming and any needed “solution.”
Greenunists …

July 6, 2020 2:34 pm

Socialism is the bane of humanity; embrace it at your own peril!

What to do?… What to do?

Bryan A
Reply to  RockyRoad
July 6, 2020 7:31 pm

The Worst Form of Government
‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time …’

Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947

‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’

-Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 22 October 1945

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  RockyRoad
July 6, 2020 7:43 pm

The Venezuelan Solution would be imposed world wide if the Consensus Coalition could have its way in deindustrializing society.

July 6, 2020 3:03 pm

Venezuela is the future. It’s just going to take longer in larger countries.

July 6, 2020 3:06 pm

Emigration reform to mitigate progress at both ends of the bridge and throughout.

Ron Long
July 6, 2020 3:09 pm

Maduro just asked the Bank of London (not sure title) for the 33 tons of gold Hugo Chavez stored there, and the Bank said Guido was the duly elected President of Venezuela so he needs to ask for it. At current gold price this is about 1.5 billion dollars. Largest conventional oil reserves in the world, two large gold deposits waiting development, 33 tons of gold in London, and not a single honest person in Venezuela has one bullet to spare? Not that I am in favor of violence of course.

Ron Long
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 6, 2020 5:58 pm

When you are a parent with hungry, no, make that starving, children, what are you going to do? Watching Venezuela waste away is distressing to me, and to every single Argentine I have heard from on the topic. The solution appears to be Maduro takes his ill-gotten gains and flees to Cuba or something else. By the way, the reef snorkeling and fiving along the Venezuela coast is amongst the most impressive in the world, resorts anyone?

Reply to  Ron Long
July 6, 2020 7:16 pm

The solution to Venezuela’s problems is simple.

The Colombians can give each refugee an AK-47, a hundred rounds of ammo and a pat on the back as they send them home to Venezuela. If Venezuelans want to solve their problems, they will be solved in a few days.

Reply to  Ron Long
July 7, 2020 5:54 am

s’ok I heard hes being tested for covid
lets hope this ones a real positive

July 6, 2020 3:18 pm

Here is one for , Mr Monckton, who is always right-

The Facts:A new article published in the British Medical Journal has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the peak of the virus.
Reflect On:Was lockdown really the right thing to do? Why have so many doctors and scientists who’ve said that it’s not the right thing to do been completely censored and banned by social media platforms? What’s going on here?
A new report published in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May”

Reply to  richard
July 6, 2020 3:33 pm

I am confused? You support killing old people? You want those responsible to be held to account? Dancing on old people’s graves? Be clear in what you are saying.

Reply to  2hotel9
July 7, 2020 12:44 am

Sorry, i thought it was very clear.

Mr Monckton was an advocate of lockdown. I was a supporter of no lock down.

Now we find out that lockdown killed more than would have died otherwise.

“Reflect On:Was lockdown really the right thing to do? Why have so many doctors and scientists who’ve said that it’s not the right thing to do been completely censored and banned by social media platforms? What’s going on here?”

Reply to  richard
July 7, 2020 6:53 am

Lockdown was used by Democrat governors and mayors to force facilities to accept highly infectious people when they already had 100s and 1000s of elderly people at high risk from this disease in those facilities. Do you want them held to account for all those lives or not?

Reply to  richard
July 7, 2020 6:12 pm

Sorry, i thought it was very clear.

No worries, Richard.

It’s plenty clear you’re NOT a supporter of lockdowns. Further, since you said this: “Now we find out that lockdown killed more than would have died otherwise,” it’s also a pretty good assumption that you’d like to see those responsible for the dead held to account.

If I’m wrong please advise. But I’m not.

Reply to  sycomputing
July 8, 2020 4:07 am

more and more coming out that lock down was the wrong move.

July 6, 2020 3:22 pm

The only hope for the people of Venezuela is to kill the socialists. Period. Full stop. Until they do that THEY HAVE NO HOPE.

John F. Hultquist
July 6, 2020 3:30 pm

A front page – below the fold – story in the Wall Street Journal today, July 6th, shows the economic loss of “remittances” by workers from developed economies to the homeland families.
There is a massive amount of money sent home in a normal year. Panic2020 has “ruptured” this remittance lifeline. [says Dilip Ratha, lead economist on remittances at the World Bank]
{Okay, the term Panic2020 is mine.}
A chart shows the share of a country’s GDP made by these transfers. Guatemala, Ukraine, and Philippines lead the list at 10% or above. Much of the article focuses on people in the Philippines. One cruise ship worker was sending $600 per month to family near Manila. It is thought there a 400 hundred thousand Filipino seafarers of various sorts. This adds to serious money and serious disruption.

Those responsible for Panic2020 have a lot to answer for. Sad they never will.

July 6, 2020 4:06 pm

Yes, incomes are equal. If you don’t count the people who run the government and their friends.

Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be willing to recognize reality if it sat down beside him and offered him a free lunch.

Reply to  MarkW
July 6, 2020 4:25 pm

“Yes, incomes are equal. If you don’t count the people who run the government and their friends.” No, incomes are never equal, you get paid what you are worth to the business who employs you. “Elected” employees simply take what they want under”color of law” and if you complain about it you will be punished.

Bryan A
Reply to  2hotel9
July 6, 2020 7:41 pm

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger.

Note to Uncle Bernie…
Incomes are equal in Venezuela because everyone is equally poor.
The only American Dream to be realized in Venezuela would come from the overthrow of Sr. Maduro and the installation of a duely elected President and a conversion to a Capitalistic Democracy where everyone has the right to make their own lives better than the other guys

Reply to  Bryan A
July 7, 2020 9:34 am

“Democracy is indispensable to socialism.” – Vladimir Lenin

The left recognize that the masses will always vote for Free Stuff. The right keep trying to find a way for them to not do that.

Reply to  MarkW
July 6, 2020 5:36 pm

“Yes, incomes are equal. If you don’t count the people who run the government and their friends.”

No. Incomes are equal. It’s just that the ‘important’ people have free access to Zil limousines, private jets, big houses and dachas in the country.

This is how communists can claim to want ‘equality’ while supporting one of the most un-equal ideologies ever invented.

July 6, 2020 6:25 pm

Iran recently (last week) sent several ships to Venezuela loaded with 1.53 million gallons of gasoline. Why Maduro shut down drilling is beyond me, since it’s Venezuela’s only real source of income, but incompetence is definitely his middle name. When is that ******** going to drop in his tracks? When?

Reply to  Sara
July 6, 2020 6:27 pm

Ooops! Sorry, that should be BARRELS, not GALLONS, of gasoline. My bad!

Surfer Dave
July 6, 2020 6:48 pm

No mention of the illegal USA sanctions and virtual blockade that have caused most of the problems on the ground.
Vulture capitalism at your peril, socialism is the fairest way forward with better health systems for all.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Surfer Dave
July 6, 2020 8:37 pm

Socialism appears to be the fairest way forward to those who don’t mind being lazy, and are willing to be subsidized by the hard, focused work of the industrious. But as one who takes a certain satisfaction in not being a leech on others, it is difficult not to resent those who would deprive me of what I have worked diligently for, to give to those who only waste and want more. As for the deserving needy, it is also satisfying to personally lend a hand rather than impersonally leaving that to a faceless, mindless beaurocracy.

Reply to  Surfer Dave
July 6, 2020 11:12 pm

Name one successful socialist government Dave. It is only the elite who live well, their greed and power make them blind to the fate of their own people.

I spoke to a Russian girl about ten years ago, she was a tour guide. We asked her what it like was like living under socialism. She was careful in her conversation with us not to be overheard. There were things that had not occurred to us, that we took for granted. Accommodation was supplied by the government but you had limited choice of where you could live, and they gave you the options. In addition to that you had to be prepared to share your accommodation with others, usually unknown to you. You had to be prepared to share a bathroom and kitchen, she said that if you were unlucky you could end up sharing with a drug addict or alcoholic, you had no say. She said that owning your own car is not simple. You have to apply for permission, she waited five years for her permit.

Have you even lived under socialism? Or is it the whole ‘everyone is treated fairly and equally’ fantasy? Maybe it’s the desire for free education and healthcare? Nothing worth having in life is free! Socialism is about total power and control, it’s about loss of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of choice, and it ends in poverty. There is no prosperity for the ordinary people. How can you look at the situation in Venezuela and claim that there is anything positive about socialism? The people are starving, they are scavenging to try to feed their kids.

In fact why don’t you head off to Venezuela as soon as we can travel again and live there for a while, see what your idea of Utopia is really like.

Reply to  Surfer Dave
July 7, 2020 1:21 am

This from a newspaper article a few years ago:
-According to a Forbes article in 2015, the leader (Chavez)was worth an “estimated $2 billion ($A2.76bn) at the time of his death [in 2013].
“Today, his daughter Maria Gabriela is the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, worth double that.”
It is believed that the 38-year-old’s fortune is hidden in European bank accounts.”-

Meanwhile 3 m venezuelans leave the country and the rest live in conditions of squalor and malnutrition.
Socialism at its finest .

Reply to  Surfer Dave
July 8, 2020 9:49 am

Heh. Renegade, lawless states eventually pay a price. Somewhere, sooner or later. Says the US State Department:

“ U.S. sanctions are designed to ensure that Maduro and his cronies don’t profit from illegal gold mining, state-operated oil operations, or other business transactions that would enable the regime’s criminal activity and human rights abuses.

“For example, the oil sanctions are designed to ‘to cut off those sources of financial income and prevent the oil industry from being exploited for patronage,’State Department’s Carrie Filipetti told a U.S. Senate committee.

“This means sanctions go after someone such as Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman who used a network of shell companies to hide profits from no-bid, overvalued contracts obtained through bribes and kickbacks. Now that he is sanctioned, he is no longer allowed to conduct business in the U.S. or through the U.S. financial system.

“Economists agree that U.S. sanctions are not responsible for the Venezuelan economy’s decline. According to a Brookings Institution and Harvard University study….”

So, there’s disputing your claims.

Gordon A. Dressler
July 6, 2020 7:20 pm

Surfer Dave posted “. . . socialism is the fairest way forward . . .”

Well, Margaret Thatcher famously stated “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

I’ll take Maggie over Surfer any day.

July 7, 2020 12:24 am

Cant we save these people from communism?

They have wealth galore beneath their feet, yet they live like rats thanks to Marxism. Cant we do something for them?

Reply to  Matt_S
July 7, 2020 2:07 am

Matt we could and would much prefer to help people in these situations. Instead we are spending trillions of dollars on renewable energy. We are raping the planet of resources and causing massive ecological damage and putting the lives of vulnerable people at risk for a source of power that will carpet vast areas of the globe and never produce enough power to become 100% renewable. All the while producing massive amounts of CO2 during mining, processing and manufacture.

We don’t even have enough resources to reach that fantasy let alone start all over again when the components fail and need to be replaced. On top of all that there is no real plan for recycling of this infrastructure. It requires intense energy for much of the processes and some of it is highly toxic. Some of the components cannot be recycled at all. They are mostly going to landfill, they are simply burying the problem, or sending it to third world countries who have no safe way of disposing of it.

If we weren’t wasting trillions of dollars on renewable energy then yes we could really help large numbers of people globally. Can we save them from communism? Sorry Matt but that is where we are headed. Who can save us from communism?

Andy Espersen
July 7, 2020 2:59 pm

Doesn’t this agonising account just point to one single observation : lock-down policies are unethical, inhumane – and must never again be implemented by civilised countries. Does the end ever justify the means? It is the age-old moral dilemma.
This legislation is causing enormous pain and suffering for millions of people – and all of them on the bottom rung of the ladder, economically and socially. Whereas for the well-to-do, with secure income and plenty of assets, lock-downs can be positively enjoyable.
When all this is over in a few months’ time, humankind will have learnt a painful lesson that will never be forgotten.

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