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Venezuelans are fleeing their nation’s soaring hyperinflation, mounting hunger and a crippled health care system in what has become one of the largest population movements in Latin America’s history.
Exodus from Venezuela leaves families divided across borders
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — When Emili Espinoza was finally able to make a video call to the 3-year-old son she hadn't seen since fleeing Venezuela, the little boy named Elvis didn't recognize her.
"No," he told her. "My mom is sleeping."
That cold denial sent a shiver of sadness down her spine. She reminded him of the chocolate-covered bananas she used to buy him, hoping to trigger a memory. But his young mind couldn't grasp the recollection.
‘I’ll walk in my broken shoes’: Mom, daughter flee Venezuela
PAMPLONA, Colombia (AP) — As night approached, Sandra Cadiz wrapped her shivering daughter in a blanket and prayed for a ride up the frigid Colombian mountaintop known as "the icebox."
Ten-year-old Angelis already had on nearly all of the clothes she'd brought for the 2,700-mile trek through four countries — two pairs of leggings, several T-shirts and a light jacket. They did little to shield the girl's thin frame from a biting wind.
Follow the trek of Venezuelan migrants fleeing on foot
About 1.9 million Venezuelans have fled their collapsing nation since 2015 in one of the largest migrations in the world in recent years. The most desperate cannot afford a bus or plane ticket, and so they risk their lives to escape on foot.
CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — On a recent humid evening in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, a Venezuelan woman wrapped her newborn daughter in a pale yellow blanket and left her with a note alongside a car parked near a stadium hosting a high school field day.
"I don't have the means to take care of her," she wrote on graph paper with a pink border of hearts, paw prints and flowers. "She is four days old and her name is Angela."
Kids Fleeing Venezuela Hungry, Sick, Abandoned
NEW YORK (AP) — When Wuilly Arteaga takes his violin out of its brown case and starts playing Rihanna's "This Is What You Came For" near the platform of a busy Manhattan subway station, several passersby stop to listen or shoot video with their phones. Then someone recognizes the violinist and runs to greet him.
"Brother!" says a fellow Venezuelan in Spanish, taking a selfie with the musician.
SAN MATEO, California (AP) — At his stand-up desk in a Silicon Valley office complex, Guido Nunez-Mujica's phone buzzes nonstop as he tries in vain to concentrate on his work. The text messages are from 6,000 miles away in Santiago, Chile, where he's helping resettle a group of young Venezuelans trying to retrace his own immigrant's journey to a better future.
PACARAIMA, Brazil (AP) — Women cook over a dozen little open fires, while men lie on hammocks inside an adjoining building and naked children with distended bellies and dirty faces run around the shelter for indigenous Warao who have fled Venezuela's troubles.
Opened late last year with a capacity for housing about 250 people, the former warehouse in this Brazilian town now has upward of 500, and more are arriving daily. With no more space for hammocks, people are sleeping on the concrete floor.
PACARAIMA, Brazil (AP) — Hungry and destitute, tens of thousands of victims of Venezuela's unrelenting political and economic crisis are trying their luck in Brazil — a country where they do not speak the language, conditions are often poor and there are few border towns to receive them.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is providing $2.5 million for emergency food and medicine assistance to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia in the U.S.' first action to alleviate a burgeoning humanitarian crisis reverberating across Latin America.
Most of the aid will be directed toward the border city of Cucuta, which has been overwhelmed in recent months by hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing hunger and economic turmoil.
MIAMI (AP) — Helene Villalonga decided she had to get out of Venezuela for a while when two men, one brandishing a gun, showed up at her party rental business and told her to stop working for local politicians opposed to then-President Hugo Chavez.
Villalonga put a sign in the window of her business that said "closed for vacation" and set off with her two youngest children to the U.S., figuring she would be gone a few weeks.
CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — In a cramped hospital near Colombia's border with Venezuela, migrants fill stretchers bearing the wounds of the deteriorating nation they left behind.
Sick Venezuelans Flee to Colombia for Treatment
Venezuelans recycle worthless bolivar bills into crafts
CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — A family of Venezuelan immigrants to Colombia are repurposing their worthless bolivars into origami-made paper wallets, belts and even purses as the currency plunges further in value amid four-digit inflation.
Each collector item produced by Richard Segovia fetches between $10 and $15 — a huge markup from the pennies that bolivars retrieve on Venezuela's black market.
Venezuelans abroad panhandle with their useless cash
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Jorge Gutierrez leaps onto a packed bus in Colombia's capital, proudly announcing that he comes bearing gifts from neighboring Venezuela.
He holds up a thick wad of bolivars— the nearly worthless currency of his crisis-wracked homeland — and then asks for a small donation in exchange for each 100-bolivar note.
"Do you know what I can buy with this?" he says as the bus rumbles down a street in Bogota. "Absolutely nothing, gentlemen."
Venezuelan prosecutors look to settle scores from exile
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — In a cramped office in Colombia's capital, where a single window looks onto a narrow air shaft, Pedro Lupera searches through scanned copies of contracts, invoices and bank wire instructions — all part of a trove of hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence smuggled out of Venezuela that he hopes will bring about the downfall of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — As the first hint of dawn stretches over a Colombian neighborhood known as "Little Mene Grande" after the warm, Venezuelan city where so many recent arrivals are from, six men and women rise from worn, flattened mattresses.
The women do their makeup in front of a mirror hanging from the security bars inside a window. One wraps her 4-month-old daughter in a fuzzy yellow blanket. The men don jackets and baseball caps.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — In a stuffy, second-floor store room, a volunteer sorts through boxes of imported medicines and arranges them one by one on metallic shelves in alphabetical order. There's Euthyrox for thyroid problems, Clexane to stop blood clots and over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen.
MIAMI (AP) — People crowd outside a church near Miami's international airport, chatting about family and friends left behind in Caracas, Valencia and Maracaibo as they wait more than an hour to receive rice, beans, yogurt and other food for their families.
At a storage space not far away, about 60 other Venezuelans line up for free sheets, towels, cookware and other goods donated to help them get on their feet in their new country.