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Wednesday, 25 November, 2020

Homesickness and financial problems drive the return migration

Hector Chirinos, Alfredo Arguinzones, and Betty Riera started the return trip to Venezuela after staying in Colombia, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, respectively. They agree about the reasons to return: sadness, homesickness, financial issues, age, and difficulties in legalizing immigration status.

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Original by Mardu Marron.

To return to his house at Turen, Portuguesa state in Venezuela, Hector Chirinos, again, crossed the border by La Guajira, one of the entrance doors to Colombia. The last time was three years ago when he decided to move to Cartagena de Indias. He spent those three years away from his family.

The 34 years old man back into his steps to meet again to his wife and his three children. Coincidence: the date to return, December 18th, 2019, was International Migrants Day, chosen by the United Nation to promote the right to human mobilize.

On the other side of the phone, Hector reminds his experience as a migrant: attracted by geographical proximity and pushed by the imperative need to get more money to give a better life to his family, he decided, with the passport in his hand, move to Colombia on 2016.

He left his job as a farmer in Turen. “I went out, hoping to send money to my family, but inflation in Venezuela is too high that, even earning dollars, is not enough to afford stuff. I always knew that would be hard, but still, I decided to migrate.”

I always knew that would be hard, but still, I decided to migrate.”

Money is not enough

Cartagena de Indias is one of the most popular destinies in Colombia to Venezuela migrants. According to Colombian Migration, 48.003 Venezuelans citizens are living in this municipality, capital from the Bolivar department, and is the tenth department with more Venezuelan migrants in that country.

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Despite having the Special Resident Permit (PPE by its acronym in Spanish), a special document to allow Venezuelan migrants to have temporary legal status in Colombia, it was not easy to Hector to find a job.

“After three months in Cartagena, I was unemployed,” he tells. Fortunately, he found support in a Venezuela friend who had more time living in that city. As a joyful man, Hector found new friends.

But three years later, Hector realized that he wouldn’t reunite with his family in that country. He was working around nine hours per day, from Monday to Saturday, earning just 200 dollars.

After three years away from his family, Hector realized that he wouldn’t reunite with his family in Colombia. Money wasn’t enough. Photo by Courtesy.

He sent 30$ to his wife every month and also had to pay rent and public services in Colombia. If he brought their children, he had to pay the school costs. Money was not enough

Homesickness on the heart

Chirinos also realized that he was losing the best years of his children. “Every time I talked with them, I just got sad.” Once, his oldest son sent him a voice note that broke his heart: “He told me that he wanted to leave school to be with me every day.”

After all, Hector assures that the experience had a good side: “I learned to appreciate my family more.” Back to Turen, he is working again as a farmer with his father and brothers.

Driven by despair

The most recent poll by Consultores 21, including questions about Venezuelan migration, indicated that 4 percent of 2.000 people respondents told that their relatives returned home.

Gerardo González, head of the project by Consultores 21, explained about two reasons why migrants return: “It wasn’t good for me,”I felt humiliated and unrespected,” they said.

“They are people who left the country without a plan, and they ended in an informal job. They said they prefer to be poor here in their country, that poor and abused outside.”

However, family reasons were the most important. “They explained that spend years without seen their relatives, that they lost the daughter graduation or the mom is now sick.”

Maduro regime proposed a plan named Return to Homeland, whose figure locates in 16.464 the number of Venezuelans who back to the country.


Nevertheless, is a low number compared with the figures from OIM and the Acnur, which show a jump from 695.515 persons to 4.769.498 people who left Venezuela in the last four years (201-2019).

Rina Mazuera, head of the Research and Postgraduate Deanery in Tachira University says: “The Venezuelans exodus has not been a planned migratory project, is driven by despair.”

“The Venezuelans exodus has not been a planned migratory project, is driven by despair.”

Rita Mazuera.

This is a fragment from original work. You cand read the complete article clicking here (Spanish version).

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