Photo: Instituto de Estrategia retrieved.

94 Venezuelans returned from Chile a few days ago, as part of the Vuelta a la Patria plan.

The ambassador in Santiago, Arévalo Méndez, explained why they took the State’s offer of going back free of charge:

“…some came (to Chile) with socio-economic expectations that weren’t met. Others, even if they had a good socio-economic condition and good salary, missed their land, their family, their culture, their customs, their music and chose to return. Others didn’t insert themselves in the labor market and decided to come back as well.”

As seen in the video above, this is shameless political propaganda which uses the real plight of migrants to make Nicolás Maduro look good, and demonize other countries in the region. Maduro himself couldn’t resist the temptation and sent a direct message to Chileans.

Earlier this month, the migrant flow reached the unprecedented three million refugees and migrants.

But the pendulum swings both ways: the Chilean government is doing its own repatriation of nationals, through their Air Force. Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero says that “Given the harsh difficulties they face living there (Venezuela), they want to return to our country and we’ll help them return.”

This comes as a bit of happenstance, since the aircraft is being used for another repatriation program involving Haitian immigrants, criticized by Chilean opposition as a veiled deportation scheme.

As part of their “strengthening of consular and migration policy program,” Chile helps their citizens who find themselves in vulnerable situations abroad, so they can return safely. Now most of those requests come from Venezuela, which have spiked since 2014 and rose to the top in 2016, according to their Foreign Ministry’s records.

Look at that and tell me the Venezuelan crisis isn’t affecting the region: Earlier this month, the migrant flow reached the unprecedented three million refugees and migrants, according to latest figures of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

However, the Maduro administration is hellbent on denying and hiding it all (just ask the three journalists who were detained near the Brazilian border, trying to cover the story), and the Vuelta a la Patria plan (Return to the Fatherland) is a PR effort to spin it to its favor.

For more context, I recommend this Caracas Chronicles piece from late October.

The government assures that 9,623 Venezuelans have returned as result of the Vuelta a la Patria plan since its creation, but according to an investigation made by Tal Cual, only 25% of them come back by air.

The government assures that 9,623 Venezuelans have returned as result of the Vuelta a la Patria plan since its creation, but according to an investigation made by Tal Cual, only 25% of them come back by air. And in a twist that surprises absolutely no one, they are using the excuse of “international sabotage”.

The return of 94 Venezuelans can’t overshadow that plenty of them remain in Chile, and more are still going. The UNHCR report shows there’s more than 100,000 over there, and a recent article in La Tercera quoted numbers of the Investigations Police (which handles migration control): 147,429 Venezuelans have entered that nation up to July 31 this year. Compare that to the 177,347 who entered during the whole of 2017.

That number includes people from all walks of life, to the point where one Venezuelan will represent Chile in the 2018 Miss Universe pageant, to he held next month in Bangkok.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. “Others, even if they had a good socio-economic condition and good salary, missed their land, their family, their culture, their customs, their music and chose to return. Others didn’t insert themselves in the labor market and decided to come back as well.”

    Yeah, right. So they leave their disastrous country, desperate, jobless, even hungry, pissed off, knowing there’s no future, escaping from the endless dictatorship. They make it all the way to Chile, get jobs, security a brighter future. But they miss Venezuelan salsa and arepas (also available in Chile) so they decide to go back to hell? Cuentame una de vaqueros..

  2. They were mean to me because I was Venezuelan.
    I didn’t feel like one of them.
    I wasn’t making a pile of money.
    I couldn’t make new friends.
    It was a struggle. They expect me to take any job.
    I wasn’t happy.
    They don’t have ______ music in Chile.
    Chile is boring.
    Nobody knows how to make a proper Reina Pepiada…

    Excuses used by people that don’t want life to be a struggle.

    You are always going to find any subset of any group that can’t hack a new cultural paradigm. For years, I thought the sobrinas (12-14 years old at the time) were going to head back to Venezuela the minute they turned 18. THEY HATED MINNESOTA. They missed their friends, they missed the weather, they missed everything they left behind.

    The oldest did go back to visit a few years ago, but once she returned she said, “Screw that! I’ll buy an anorak and some Sorels”. Another one has since moved down to Miami and likes it (mostly). Had they not had a support system here in the US, who knows? They might have been tempted to move back. The point being moving on to a new life is never easy. And it never has been.

    Who told them it was going to be easy? Who told them that they weren’t going to have to fight for a better life?

    • You are always going to find any subset of any group that can’t hack a new cultural paradigm.
      My brother-in-law, who emigrated from Germany as a child, married a German when the US Army stationed him in Germany. It was unending culture shock for his wife when she came to the US. For the two decades they were married, she continually found the US lacking when compared to Germany.

      After two decades of marriage, they divorced. She returned to Germany, but after a year returned to the US. The US wasn’t as bad as she had thought- or Germany wasn’t as good as she thought. (They divorced before he met my sister.)

  3. A lot of Chileans fleeing Pinochet found a refuge in Venezuela. The author Isabel Allende is one of the better known Chilean refugees who ended up in Venezuela. She ended up in an affluent San Francisco Bay suburb. Around that time, I knew a Chilean who worked in the oil industry in Anaco- though I would surmise he was in Venezuela more for the job than for the politics.

    I wonder how many of the Chileans who fled Pinochet for Venezuela- and their families- are still in Venezuela. I would surmise that most of them returned to Chile when democracy returned in 1990.

    • A few years ago I found myself in Puerto Montt, Chile, in a restaurant run by a Venezuelan woman and her Chilean husband. The husband put it well. Pinochet led me to Venezuela and Chavez led me back home. A second restaurant in nearby Puerto Vara was run from a Venezuelan family from Ciudad Bolivar. Puerto Montt is nothing like Venezuela, and they were keenly aware of the cultural and climatic differences, but they had no intention of going back home.

    • I know one who is still in Venezuela. He was a school pal of mine. He is still in Venezuela even if he still speaks Chileno and looks like a Chileno and could easily find a job in Chile (good electric engineer) and does not like the regime. He is, of course, the exception.
      Hay de todo en la viña del Señor.

      What surprises me: we have three million people and we are not doing marches around the Venezuelan embassies. Back in 2004-2009 we kept having protests in front of them. We must start doing them and now as never before.

    • Isabel Allende has it all figured out. Everything is the fault of the United States.

      Absolutely everything, including when earth’s original land masses broke apart to form seven continents.

      Ever hear this woman explain herself? Or be critically questioned?mShe writes both fiction and non-fiction/historical.

      But her problem is, she doesn’t know which is which.

  4. I’ve been to Venezuela close to 30 times in my life. I have been to Chile 3 times. Never had a bad experience in Chile, and 90% of the time in Venezuela it was wonderful. Very outgoing, beautiful people.

    I cannot explain why Chile has thrived, while a country so rich in beauty and natural resources like Venezuela has steadily gone down the shitter. Perhaps the Chile is relatively/geographically isolated from the Iberian influence along the Pacific Coast?

    But that doesn’t explain Colombia. Colombia is essentially the brother/sister of Venezuela and Ecuador. Ecuador has seemingly thrived, while Colombia’s troubles with drugs and leftist insurgents during the latter part of the last century are well know… but stable nonetheless.

    I can’t help but think it has something to do with the whole Bolivar. v. Santander schism. One thing I (a gringo) have noticed about modern Venezuelans is that they love to “quote” various strongmen (Bolivar, Lenin, Chavez) when giving their various arguments for this/that. Culturally, I find that peculiar. You certainly don’t see many other people around the world quoting old dead generals and hack political thinkers.

    And Bolivar. I understand he is your hero of independence. But get over it. Its been nearly 200 years. NOBODY goes around the United States howling about George Washington and waving his fake sword. Other than on US currency, you would be hard pressed to see his picture anywhere.

    • Bolivar was a wealthy aristocrat, a bourgeois, and yet admired and venerated by Chavez and Chavista people. Goes to show you the extent of their knowledge.

      People need heroes. Something larger than life. After childhood and cartoon characters, many don’t seem to grow up. They choose Hollywood actors, historic figures they hardly know of, after superman and batman fail to appear in their tv screens to save the day. Chabestia himself was a hero, and it took almost 2 decades for millions of people to realize that he was just a phony communist bastard.

  5. Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero says that “Given the harsh difficulties they face living there (Venezuela), they want to return to our country and we’ll help them return.”

    Roberto Ampuero has an interesting resume for the Foreign Minister of a center-right government. How many Foreign Ministers, other than Roberto Ampuero, have been novelists?Amazon Page: Roberto Ampuero. How many center-right governments have had a former member of Communist Youth, such as Roberto Ampuero, as Foreign Minister?

    As a university student and member of Communist Youth, after the 1973 coup Ampuero fled Chile for East Germany. There he fell in love with the daughter of a member of Cuba’s Nomenklatura. They married in Cuba. After experiencing Real Existing Socialism in Cuba, Ampuero became disillusioned. Nuestros años verde olivo relates his experiences in East Germany and Cuba. I highly recommend it, but it has not been translated into English yet. Diálogo de Conversos, which I haven’t read yet, relates his political change.

    Only one of his books, The Neruda Case, has been translated into English.

    https://www.latercera.com/politica/noticia/ampuero-converso-museo-la-mala-memoria/280938/

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