Ecuadorian border town struggling to is dealing with exodus driven by economic downfall and political turmoil
Nicolas Maduro has maligned hundreds of Venezuelans fleeing in the different regions of the Andes as gullible” slaves and panhandlers” deceived into rubbing foreign bathrooms by opponents of the Bolivarian revolution.
The United Nations said 2.3 million people, more than 7% of Venezuela’spopulation, have left the country since 2015, with most heading toward Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Half a million have arrived this year in Ecuador alone.
But when Daniel Luquez, an unemployed carpenter, set off from his home in the city of Guanare in July he was not, as Venezuela’s president recently scoffed, chasing” the honey” of their own lives abroad. He was fighting for his daughter’s life.
Two-year-old Jolismar was diagnosed with thoracic cancer last year after doctors obtained a small lump near her nerve. On Tuesday, and after an arduous three-week travel across Colombia, her parent arrived in the Ecuadorian borderline city 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 combat for their own families ,” said Luquez, 27, who hitchhiked and hobbled almost 1,200 miles to Ecuador. Six years ago his left leg was amputated from the consequences of a auto crash.