By Lorena Bornacelly.
Defeating all odds, during a pandemic, with little or no resources, crossing Third World borders and countries, some Venezuelan migrants have managed to return home. Only to realize they cannot leave the border area due to mass-transport quarantine restrictions.
The entry of public transportation units to the state of Tachira has been prohibited since Saturday, January 16. The reason called was the increase of positive cases of COVID-19. The surprise measure keeps many Venezuelans stranded at the border, where the buses were also suspended.
The terminal of San Antonio del Tachira was closed. The mayor William Gomez said the order indicated that the border municipalities get unable to transportation or passengers.
Those arriving in Venezuela from other countries and crossing the border through the irregular crossings have not been able to return to their homes. Most of them do not have the means to do so, and neither do they have the means to pay for the private cars that offer them the service.
El Pitazo was able to talk via telephone with Maria Urdaneta, a 35-year-old woman who, after 12 days of queuing and walking, arrived in San Antonio with her 5-year-old daughter and her 62-year-old mother. They get stranded without being able to return to Valencia, Carabobo state.
“I did not know that you could not travel to other states; we came out of necessity. I brought $100, and we had to leave $30 on the trails to be allowed to cross with two suitcases. A cab driver charged us $80 each, and we don’t have that kind of money. We are in the middle of nowhere. We paid in a hotel 10 dollars on Saturday, ten on Sunday, and we can’t pay any more because we also spend on food, although they have helped us,” Urdaneta said.
The Catholic Church and Non-Governmental Organizations are the ones who have helped them at this time for breakfast and dinner, but they also had to buy water, ibuprofen, and lunches for the little girl, whom they do not want to let go hungry.
She is not sure what will happen to her and her family. They slept hidden in an alley, between two houses, for fear of any problems with police or military, and will probably continue to do so until they can travel home by bus.