Ecuadorian border town struggling to cope with exodus driven by economic downfall and political turmoil
Nicolas Maduro has defamed the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing across the Andes as gullible” slaves and panhandlers” hoaxed into scouring foreign bathrooms by antagonists of the Bolivarian revolution.
The United Society said 2.3 million people, more than 7% of Venezuela’spopulation, have left the country since 2015, with most heading to Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Half a million have arrived this year in Ecuador alone.
But when Daniel Luquez, an jobless carpenter, start out from his home in the city of Guanare in July he was not, as Venezuela’s president recently scorned, chasing” the sugars” of a life abroad. He was fighting for his daughter’s life.
Two-year-old Jolismar was diagnosed with thoracic cancer last year after doctors observed a small lump near her mettle. On Tuesday, and after an arduous three-week pilgrimage across Colombia, her papa arrived in the Ecuadorian border town of Tulcan determined to earn the money to support his ailing daughter as she experiences chemotherapy back in their rapidly unravelling nation.
” Getting here was tough, but I have to battle for their own families ,” said Luquez, 27, who hitchhiked and hobbled virtually 1,200 miles to Ecuador. Six years ago his left leg was amputated as a result of a car crash.