By Carlos Seijas Meneses |
Caracas (EFE).- Daniel Zambrano from Caracas dreams of a future for himself and his family in Spain, where he plans to arrive next year, with the aim of achieving the “mental stability” he says he has lost in Venezuela, given the difficulties to meet household expenses, despite having four sources of income. Meanwhile, some of those who had migrated have returned, attracted by the slight economic improvement.
The Government assures that “thousands” of people abroad “dream of returning”, but this 27-year-old is focused on obtaining the papers to emigrate legally to the European country, where they arrived, according to the National Institute of Statistics ( INE) Spanish, 21,500 Venezuelan immigrants during the first quarter of 2023.
Official data confirms that, from January to the end of March, Venezuela was the third country – only behind Colombia and Morocco – that contributed the most citizens to Spain.
In the Caribbean nation, “things are excessively expensive. 300 dollars here is nothing and, perhaps, in another country it is enough for many other things. I am thinking about my mental stability, about lightening my burdens a little,” Zambrano told EFE.
The young man has a hamburger business, in which he leaves two people in charge while he does “many other things,” such as courier services, barbershops, and transport races on his motorcycle through Caracas, all to be able to “bring home a livelihood.” ”, where he lives with his partner and their 6-year-old daughter.
He is in constant movement, moving from one point of the city to another, from “Monday to Monday”, but what he longs for is “to have a single job” that gives him so that his family can live and “be mentally well”, in instead of feeling “stressed out every day, looking for what to do” to improve income.
“Many things to improve”
Some 7.32 million Venezuelans have left their country in recent years, according to the Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V).
The Government affirms that more than 300,000 returned to the country by their own means from 2020 until last January, and another 30,900, through the Plan Vuelta a la Patria, launched in 2018 to facilitate the return of migrants who were victims of xenophobia in recipient nations.
Among the returnees is Klisbely Echezuria, who arrived in Venezuela in July, after five years in Colombia, and although the country he found is far from the one he left in 2018 -when hyperinflation closed at 130,060%, according to official figures, and there was a general shortage of products-, “there are still many things to improve”, above all, services and high prices, which makes her think about emigrating again.
“I would like to live in my country. Who does not? But with better economy and basic services. Everything is very expensive,” Echezuria, 28, told EFE.
For a time, she lived with several aunts in an apartment without a kitchen, bed, or fan in Urabá, Colombia. Later, she was reunited with her husband -also a migrant- in Cali, where he studied to become a “professional technician in artificial nails.”
He worked in at least eight establishments during his stay in the Andean country, mainly hairdressers and spas, before doing manicures independently.
Finally, he decided to return to his country, but for family reasons, unrelated to any work or economic activity.
Family was also what pushed Freddy Carrero to return to Venezuela with his wife and two stepdaughters, after four years in Colombia.
He arrived in January, when he saw a country “totally” different from that of 2019 -still in hyperinflation and recession-, so he decided to “put down roots again” in his land.
“In 2019, when I left, the supermarkets were still empty. Right now you get food everywhere,” he told EFE Carrero, a 30-year-old systems engineer.
The death of his father, in 2021, moved him strongly, especially since he could not be present in his last moments, which caused him to begin to need to return to be close to his family.
Now, with his income as a manager in a family business and that of his wife, he can, in part, cover “the basics,” which requires about $100 a month per person, according to independent estimates.
According to the Government, “thousands” of Venezuelans have returned because “the economic situation is beginning to improve.” Others, like Echezuria and Carrero, returned for the family
The entrance to Venezuela, migrate or return? It was first published in EFE Noticias.