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.

    • Ah, the myth of a Socialist Utopia. Has Allende had his way, I am sure Chile would be in a far better position (like Cuba or North Korea) than those Capitalist swine enjoy now. Because all you need to run a country is the correct Marxist “world vision” and faith that it can be done. Amiright or amiright?

      • It may be argued back and forth what would have happened had there been no coup on September 11,1973. Nonetheless, it was and is apparent that Allende and Unidad Popular- not to mention the M.I.R. outside the UP coalition- viewed the Communist bloc as the ultimate model.

        Consider what Allende and the UP coalition wanted for education in Chile. In early 1973 Education Minister Jorge Tapia announced plans for Educacion Nacional Unificada, a.k.a. ENU. Tapia later admitted that the model for this “radical transformation” that would instill “values
        of socialist humanism” in Chile’s students came from East Germany’s educational system. Allende and the UP believed that totalitarian, communist East Germany provided the model for transforming Chile’s educational system.
        Allende contemplated enacting ENU by decree, but loud opposition caused the UP government to table implementation of the ENU.
        Out of the Ashes: Life, Death & Transfiguration of Democracy in Chile 1933-1988. (Pages 395-396/413-414)

        For those who consider Allende to have been committed to democracy, consider these Allende quotes from Georgie Ann Geyer’s autobiography, Buying the Night Flight The first Allende quote is from 1964; the second is from 1970.

        “Would a one-party state be good for Chile?” I asked him.
        And he answered, thoughtfully but surely, “No…no, not right away. It will take a while.”……….

        I saw him last, personally, several months before he became “the world’s first elected Marxist president,” in his attractive townhouse in Santiago…Since the entire fight about Allende and his Marxists revolved around the question of whether they would in the end still observe democratic forms, again I posed what I considered to be “the” ideological question.

        “If you are elected, will there be elections again?” I asked him. He paused. “You must understand,” he said, carefully but revealingly, “that by the next elections, everything will have changed.”

        The “democratically elected” Allende had a long term goal of a one-party state. The Communist bloc had one party states. Not a coincidence at all. How many democrats think a one-party state will be good for a country?

        In 1970, Allende anticipated making radical changes so that by the time of the next election, “everything will have changed.” Unfortunately, it is rather difficult for a minority government to enact radical change. Which is where decrees came in- bypass the legislature and Supreme Court.

        Yes, Canucklehad, I acknowledge that Pinochet killed 2-3 thousand.

    • Consider Gonzalo Martner’s history of the Allende years.El gobierno del presidente Salvador Allende 1970 – 1973. Martner was ODEPLAN’s minister in Allende’s government.
      Martner quotes Allende:

      Porque la cultura nueva no se creará por decreto; ella surgirá de la lucha por la fraternidad contra el individualismo, por la valoración del trabajo humano contra su desprecio; por los valores nacionales contra la colonización cultural, por el acceso de las masas populares al arte, la literatura y los medios de comunicación contra su comercialización”.
      Tr.: Because the new culture will not be created by decree; it will emerge from the struggle for brotherhood against individualism, for valuing-not scorning- the work of humans, for national values against cultural colonization, for the access of the popular masses to art, literature and the media against their commercialization [page 82]

      While Allende may have claimed that the “new culture,” the New Socialist man, would not come about by decree, it is of interest that beyond this initial mention of “decree” in Martner’s history of the Allende government, there are 35 additional mentions of “decree.” That implies that contrary to Allende’s initial statement, Allende considered use of decrees a rather important tool in advancing the Unidad Popular agenda.
      While the legislature voted for the nationalization of banks and of the copper industry, Allende knew that the legislature would be unwilling to willy-nilly approve nationalizations, as Unidad Popular held only a minority in ether house. Allende nationalized hundreds of businesses without legislative approval by resorting to Decree Law 520, issued during the short-lived Socialist Republic in 1932- an attempt to install a socialist government by military coup. Prior to 1971, Martner informs us, Decree Law 520 hadn’t been utilized. (page 124)

      Allende had no hesitation in using Decree Law 520- issued by a government that came to power by military coup- to advance the Unidad Popular agenda. Which rather weakens Allende fans’ objections to decree laws issued by other military governments installed by coup, does it not?
      In addition, while Allende once stated that the “new culture” wouldn’t

        • Clearly, he is more versed on actual history than our resident Great White North Euphorian fan-boy who thinks that the failure of Socialism is implementation.

          You want to give us a single example of where Socialism works without suckling at the tit of Capitalistic success and achievement?

          Just ONE example?

        • Guapo, I went camping once and we shared everything, according to the needs of each. There was a banker present but no suckling was involved.

          I refuse to Google Euphorian fan-boy to find out what that is.

        • Oh jesus. Here we go. The anti-Pinochet guy arouses the cut-and-paste historians.
          I don’t view you as “the anti-Pinochet guy” so much as I view you as “the guy who made his mind up on Chile circa 1974 and doesn’t see the need to learn anything more about Chile.”

          I would be very much surprised to find out that you had previously been aware of this discrepancy between what Allende said about decrees not being needed to bring about “Socialist paradise” versus his incessant use of decrees when in office. Also bear in mind that I “cut and pasted” from a work that a member of Allende’s cabinet wrote.

          I have been reading about Chile for decades. In the process of reading about Chile, I changed my mind about Chile.

          I refuse to Google Euphorian fan-boy to find out what that is.
          Just as you apparently refuse to learn anything about Chile beyond what you learned circa 1974. 🙂
          I also note there is no response to my recommendation that you check out Roberto Ampuero’s work. He also has written some entertaining – and often edifying- mysteries.

    • Canuucklehead, I highly recommend Roberto Ampuero’s Nuestros años verde olivo. As a member of Communist Youth, after the 1973 coup Ampuero fled Chile for East Germany. After falling in love with the daughter of a member of Cuba’s Nomenklature, moving to Cuba, and experiencing Real Existing Socialism to the degree that very few Chilean refugees in Canada did, he changed his mind. He is currently Chile’s Foreign Minister.

      Ampuero wrote a rather damning open letter to President Bachelet about her kowtowing to the Castro brothers.

    • Ah yes. The myth of the “punctual trains”…
      From 1973 to 1989, Chile’s rank in both Life Expectancy and in Infant Mortality improved from 8th best in Latin America (romance language speaking) to 3rd best in Latin America. So, there just might be something there about competent governance from Pinochet. 🙂

      Tarsicio Castañeda wrote an interesting book: Combating Poverty: Innovative Social Reform in Chile During the 1980s. I first read it in its original Spanish language version. If you are interested in learning something, I would recommend that you peruse the book. But as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. 🙂

      On the other hand, as there are very few competent General-Presidents in the history of Latin America, it is foolhardy to wish for one- especially from the Chavista-ridden officer corps in Venezuela.

      https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.IN?end=1989&start=1973

  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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