Venezuelan refugees

Manuel Rueda / WLRN News

ABOARD THE USNS COMFORT | A few years ago, Dr. Juan Manuel Zambrano was a family physician in Mucuchíes, Venezuela, in the country’s mountainous western Andes region. That is, until the day he realized Venezuela’s medicine and medical equipment shortages made it all but impossible for him to practice anymore.

Jonathan Clay / US Navy

A U.S. Navy hospital ship leaves Norfolk, Virginia, Thursday on a mission that means a lot to people here in South Florida. It hopes to help bring relief to the worst migrant refugee crisis in modern South American history.

Fernando Vergara / AP

The mass exodus from Venezuela is being called one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in Latin America’s history. On Thursday a prominent human rights group came to Miami to urge Latin America to forge a more unified response to the crisis – and its cause.

Manuel Rueda

Last week José Molleja became one of the countless Venezuelans stranded on the border between Colombia and Ecuador.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan can’t find enough work to live in crisis-torn Venezuela. So he spent a week on a bus getting from Caracas to join relatives who’d already emigrated to Ecuador.

But when Molleja arrived he was stunned. Before, Ecuador had only asked Venezuelans to show a photo ID to enter the country. Now the country was suddenly making them present passports.

Fernando Vergara / AP

By the end of this year, an estimated 3 million Venezuelans will have left their country – and the humanitarian crisis there – since 2015. The U.S. government just made another contribution to help those Venezuelans get settled in other countries.

Paul Smith / UNHCR

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | La casa de Angélica Lamos es uno de los pocos lugares en Cúcuta donde se puede oir a los niños refugiados venezolanos reír en vez de llorar. De hecho, los niños chillan de placer jugando con globos en el patio de la casa mientras el ritmo alegre de una cumbia se cuela desde el café de la esquina.

No están desnutridos. No están enfermos.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | No es fácil para Jesús Mendoza hablar de todas las cosas que ha tenido que vender para comprar medicinas - medicinas que lo mantienen con vida.

Jesús recibió un transplante de riñón y tiene que tomar medicinas para no rechazar el órgano, sin importar cuánto cuestan. Y como Jesús vive en Venezuela, el precio es frecuentemente astronómico.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | Así suena la crisis de refugiados huyendo de Venezuela: los puños, nudillos y las manos abiertas de venezolanos indigentes -y sobretodo hambrientos- tocando las puertas de metal de las estaciones de ayuda humanitaria establecidas en la ciudad de Cúcuta, en el lado colombiano de la frontera.

Paul Smith / UNHCR

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | Angélica Lamos’ house is one of the few places in Cúcuta where you can hear Venezuelan refugee children laughing instead of crying. The kids are squealing, in fact, playing with balloons in the courtyard as jaunty cumbia music wafts in from a corner cafe.

They’re not malnourished. They’re not sick.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | It’s not easy for Jesús Mendoza to talk about all the things he’s had to sell to buy medicine – life-saving medicine.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If there were any doubts about the deadly madness of Venezuela’s dictatorial socialist regime, they were erased this week by a stunning Reuters report:

Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA has bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign crude and shipped it directly to Cuba on friendly credit terms – and often at a loss….”

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

First of a three-part WLRN series, "Escape From Venezuela"

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA | This is what the Venezuelan refugee crisis sounds like: the fists, knuckles and open palms of destitute – and above all hungry – Venezuelan migrants pounding on the metal gates of humanitarian relief stations here in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The Venezuelan refugee crisis is only worsening - and international aid raised so far to help hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans pouring into countries like Colombia is falling well short. As a result, the U.N. and other aid  groups are looking for new sources of funding.

Fernando Vergara / AP via Miami Herald

At a warehouse near Miami International Airport, Adelys Ferro is unpacking boxes and making a checklist of donated medicines for Venezuelans.