Ecuadorian border town struggling to cope with exodus driven by financial collapse and political turmoil
Nicolas Maduro has maligned the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing across the Andes as gullible” slaves and panhandlers” hoaxed into scrubbing foreign toilets by enemies 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 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 scoffed, chasing” the honeys” of a life abroad. He was fighting for his daughter’s life.
Two-year-old Jolismar was diagnosed with thoracic cancer last year after physicians find a small lump near her centre. On Tuesday, and after an arduous three-week wander across Colombia, her father-god reached in the Ecuadorian border town of Tulcan determined to earn the money to support his ailing daughter as she undergoes chemotherapy back in their rapidly deciphering nation.
” Getting here was tough, but I have to battle 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 as a result of a auto crash.