Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.
But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.
Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.
Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.
I have not been able yet to track down the source of those numbers, but the story points out that Venezuelans are also trying to get into Brazil (whose economic situation has also deteriorated lately), as well as into Colombia.
A cynical view of this would be that President Maduro of Venezuela might be happy to see people go, since that could take some pressure off the limited supply of food in the country.