This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Venezuelans on the Move

It was bound to happen. You can't have a country whose economy is collapsing, as in Venezuela, and not expect that some people will try to get out. Today's NYTimes has a lengthy article detailing the plight of several people trying to get to the island of Curaçao by boat. From shore to shore it is about 40 miles in distance, but of course that's not an easy trip for small smuggling boats. And the island is home to only about 150,000 people, so it is not in a good position to be receiving new migrants.
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.

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