“I’ve been kidnapped twice inside the hospital. Not unusual around here.”

The 33-year-old doctor speaking to me is just another face in the long line.

“I’m not the first one here, she arrived at 4:30 a.m.” she tells me, pointing at a woman shielding herself the cold breeze. It was five in the morning, and still dark out. There were mothers, babies and old men.

This is the line for the Embassy of Portugal in Caracas.

“Aren’t you afraid to be out at this hour?” the doctor asks me. The sun won’t be out for a while and there’s not a lot of activity on the streets. Most people are here to apply for  their European passport, looking to their immigrant ancestors as the key to get out of Venezuela. For the good doctor, most of her relatives are already gone.

“I plan to study in Spain, and having European papers makes everything easier,” she says. “I’ve always wanted out, it’s not just the Constituyente. This society is sick. Even with the opposition in power, the problems will remain.”

Though there are still no official statistics, it’s common knowledge that the number of Venezuelans leaving the country has grown since Maduro took power, and what was already a steady exodus has now become a mass flight, in which making a line at an embassy can be a matter of life or death.

“I don’t have a plan yet. I have friends in Panama, but I guess I’ll knock on some doors” a 38-year-old salesman tells me. With his wife, a 7 year-old and a newborn baby in tow, he had toyed around with “trying his luck” at emigrating. After thinking about it for quite a while, the Constituyente made up his mind for him. “I’ve studied communism, I have Cuban friends, everything they predicted happened. This is the last breath of democracy in Venezuela. It’ll only get worse.”

What was already a steady exodus has now become a mass flight, in which making a line at an embassy can be a matter of life or death.

But it’s not only the Portuguese descendants who use their bloodline as a ticket to get out. On any given weekday, the line in front of the Spanish Consulate takes up a whole block. “There are always a lot of people” a nearby worker tells me. “A few years ago, you could walk in, but now there’s this never-ending line. We’d sell beers at night and that was it. Now we sell coffee and breakfasts. You get here at 4 in the morning, and there are people already in line.”

Manila folders in hand, people wait in different queues: one for passports, another for questions. I meet a young musician desperate for a passport and luck. His grandparents are from Tenerife, but Europe is terra incógnita for him. Although most of his friends have left the country, it’s again the Constituyente that determined his choice: “This is a dictatorship and I better get out while I still can.”

“That’s just part of the problem” a lady in line interrupts. “Everyone knows someone who’s been kidnapped. We’ve been mugged. Just a few hours ago we were all scared because two motorcycles came by here all slow and shit, eyeing us.”

She catches her breath, takes a beat to think, and then gets to the heart of it all:

“I don’t want my kids to live in fear. It isn’t normal for them to hear about their buddies being robbed inside their houses. It’ll take years to fix that.”

She knows the trip won’t be easy. “Spain is the land of my grandparents, but I’m used to living here. Sometimes I forget my grannies are not Venezuelan, they always spoke of how this land opened its arm to everyone willing to  work. But that Venezuela is not my Venezuela.”

“I have to go” she lowers her gaze, and it hits you right in the gut. “It’s now or never.”

31 COMMENTS

  1. This is just fine with Chavismo. They don’t need the best and brightest, the driven, they need sheep. And the more souls that leave the country the more there is for them to steal.

    “This society is sick.”

    Yes my dear, it is.

  2. Every day that the Chavistas continue to rule is a bad day for moderates because their voters are fleeing the country.

  3. re “past the point”…hopefully some day voting will return to Venezuela and the cou try will need educated voters. There is too much defeatism in the Chavista opponents. Suck it up..I can’t imagine how difficult that must be…

    • But why suck it up if you can leave? Let the Chavistas “suck it up” once all the achievers leave and there is no one with vision or creativity left to create jobs or take risks!

      Heck there are plenty of businesses that are abandoned and empty factories that have been nationalized. Let the “workers” manufacture something from nothing since they already own the GM and Kimberly Clark plants. What could be more simple?

      • Come on up to gringo-land. Unemployment is under 5 percent and the DOW reaches new highs almost daily. There are help wanted signs in half the businesses. We call it the, “Trump Recovery.”

        Get out now. Life is too short.

  4. Has anyone read anything in the way of positive support for the Trump/Pence effort here in the pages of CC? Could maybe just one person give them a little bit of credit for at least trying? Maybe even a little positive advice? A thumbs up, good luck and God bless?

    I hate to be the one to tell y’all this, but right now it is the only game in town.

    I think the entire CC editorial staff and half the commenters here would prefer a Venezuela in hell first.

    • Some commenters have supported, but the editorial staff gave a collective gasp and headshake when the US president refused to rule out military action against the government of Venezuela.

  5. I simply dont understand the many posts pro and anti Trump. This is about Venezuela and there will be no US invasion.

  6. I’ve post this info a couple of days ago including the link to the #1 Dutch newspaper. The US Secretary of Defense was in the Netherlands for a meeting with his Dutch counterpart. He stated that;”the Netherlands don’t need to worry a war will breakout right next to their Antilles islands Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire (16nm off VEN coast). The chances of a US military intervention in Venezuela are ZERO” The best Venezuela can expect from uncle Sam is a complete trade embargo including the use of their Dollars. It will kill many ordinary Venezuelans because hunger will be rampant but starving the dictatorship of cash money is THE only way visible!!

    • It shows you how stupid people are.

      The only way out of VZ’s misery is military intervention.

      A trade embargo didn’t change Cuba, did it?

      Seriously:

      How fucking ignorant does one have to be to think that even an embargo against VZ oil would force regime change? That’s a special kind of ignorant.

      In fact, I now sincerely believe that those advocating this as opposed to military intervention don’t want regime change at all. They’re full of shit.

      Boots on the ground, and Chavistas hanging from lampposts for the death and misery they incurred.

      That’s the only answer.

      • Ira, you’re the ignorant one here, not one Latin American country has supported Trump’s call for a military intervention, believe me I would love to see boots on the ground killing every single cunt chavista but it won’t happen, there just isn’t any global support for it. So slowly starving the narco-dictatorship out off cash IS the only option left bcuz “el bravo pueblo” is still doing FUCK ALL to get their freedom and democracy back. It will take several years at least before those MMG CHAVISTAS are leaving miraflores unfortunately. It could happen sooner if “el bravo pueblo” would get of their ignorant lazy asses by the millions and take the streets for real. …. but I think that’s wishful thinking, the last years/months have shown that “el bravo pueblo” isn’t “bravo” at all. I suggest they take that bit out of their anthem bcuz it doesn’t suit them at all!

        • Do you actually think support from South American leaders is going to dictate how Trump reacts?

          South American countries have a pretty dismal history of doing ANYTHING of ANY importance beyond their own individual borders. They’re like the kindergarteners of international relations.

          Of course, they were great at protecting Nazis after the war. During it, they did nothing.

      • ** Ira: The embargo isn’t the reason for the duration of the cuban regime, they weren’t embargoed because they were commies nor because USA wanted to topple the regime, they were embargoed because fidel ordered to steal a bunch of assets several enterprises had in the island, and he was such a piece of manure that he preferred to let the cuban people sink into the most abject misery rather than returning what he had stolen.

        The only reason for the duration of the castrista regime was because USA agreed with the URSS to let them alone as part of the deal to take the nukes out of Cuba in the missile crisis.

        ** Duncavd: No LatAm government has said “no to the military intervention”, so please stop repeating that fallacy.

        ** Tracy: Keep missing the point, you still believe the only military intervention possible is a bomber carpet bombing cities as the chaveo propaganda has croaked during years, which is a blatant lie.

        • Try to think clearly for a moment:

          Who the hell said the embargo is the REASON for the duration of the Castro regime? I simply said it didn’t work to end it.

          Understand?

          Or should I write it in all caps?

          • “Who the hell said the embargo is the REASON for the duration of the Castro regime”

            More people than would be logical think and seriously believe that fallacy, including all these so-called thinkers that plead with US to keep doing nothing against the chavista dictatorship using excuses such as “the people will suffer more” or “the dictator will get angry and the people will suffer more”

            Because in their vision, it’s better if people gets killed by tens of thousands every year as long as the news don’t say a peep about it, than a dozen murdered in protests and fight against the dictatorship because then they would be presented as “the violent ones”

  7. “I’ve always wanted out, it’s not just the Constituyente. This society is sick. Even with the opposition in power, the problems will remain.”

    That’s true. Not as bad as with Chavismo, of course, but the MUD will someday inherit a gigantic disaster.

    The economy is destroyed. Kleptozuela in in deep, deep debt, for decades. They don’t produce Anything. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. The social fabric: also destroyed: Massive brain drain, most the best people leave as soon as they can. The least prepared and/or under-educated tend to remain. Just what the Castrista recipe orders. Corruption and Crime will remain very high, under any MUD future government. Venezuela has always been highly corrupt, as most Latin American countries, and more. Always, since MPJ.

    The massive ignorance, lamentable educational and professional levels, the incompetence will still be there, and most of the 2 Million better educated/prepared will never go back. To what? High crime, a destroyed economy, a new, corrupt Muddy system? If Cubazuela is not exactly like Cuba in 30/40 years, it will still be a veritable mess for decades, the damage is done, and it was very, very profound. The “pueblo” people left, about 30 Million, are truly not the best you will find worldwide. Some are unfortunate, honest, hard-working, with good intentions, good people. But most, the VAST Majority, are unprepared, corrupt or highly corruptible, dishonest, incompetent. Are they gonna raise Kleptozuela back from the ashes one day after Chavismo is kicked out? (by force, only way of course). With what, Who pays the huge debts? With cheap/heavy oil that belongs to China and Russia? With a clueless pueblo populachero? Venezuela is bot Colombia, much less Chile: People are generally much better educated over there. And less corruptible. Eso se jodio, y pa’ rato laaaaargo, so yes, el que pueda que se vaya palco’ ya mismo.

    • “That’s the plan! Foolds! You fell for it, HAHAHA! Soon the Amazonas pantanal will be filled with floating, bloated corpses!” – Karl Marx.

      Sorry, but people need to recognize Karl Marx as the most horrible mass-murder / human exterminator in the known history of the world – and STOP reading his garbage and STOP fantasizing whatever the heck it is “socialists” fantasize.

    • Poeta, your response, unfortunately, is right-on for this article. Venezuela even if “saved” by U.S. intervention will not be Germany post-Marshall Plan, nor East Berlin post-Berlin unification, because Er Pueblo Venezolano is light-years away from Germans in their educational level/work ethic-preparedness/governmental institutional control/honesty.

  8. Reading the stories and comments here makes me think of a bleak future as portrayed in the movie “Idiocracy”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

    It is a bizarre, funny, and a good little film. Low budget. But the core message is scary and the predictions are frighteningly accurate.

    The film takes place in the year 2500 when humans have devolved to slobbering idiots and all skills are lost. They get the point where they don’t even know how to grow crops any more.

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