Ecuadorian border town struggling to cope with exodus driven by economic collapse and political turmoil
Nicolas Maduro has defamed the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing across the Andes as gullible” slaves and beggars” defrauded into scrubbing foreign bathrooms by opponents of the Bolivarian revolution.
The United Commonwealth 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 unemployed 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 “peoples lives” abroad. He was fighting for his daughter’s life.
Two-year-old Jolismar was diagnosed with thoracic cancer last year after physicians ascertained a small lump near her center. On Tuesday, and after an arduous three-week pilgrimage across Colombia, her father-god arrived here 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 my family ,” said Luquez, 27, who hitchhiked and hobbled nearly 1,200 miles to Ecuador. Six years ago his left leg was amputated as a result of a automobile crash.