‘We Only Want to Go Home’


Photo by Larisa Zinder/The Santiago Times
Larisa Zinder / The Santiago Times

SANTIAGO – The coronavirus pandemic continues to further complicate the situation with Venezuelans in Santiago as more and more people are joining an impromptu camp on Bustos Street in front of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic. All they want is to go back home.

Before the world crisis with the pandemic, the Venezuelans sought to Chile, as the country with the most stable economy in Latin America, now it is the opposite.

A week ago, the same situation was with the Peruvians: people slept for a whole week right on the pavement in front of the Peruvian embassy, children cried, people were happy about any donation: food, clothes, blankets. But the question was decided by the municipality and they moved to the camp, and women with children to the hotel due to measures to prevent the coronavirus.

Photo by Larisa Zinder/The Santiago Times

Dozens of Venezuelan families are on the street for more than 12 days. All of them lost their jobs due to the crisis, (in offices or service), there was nothing to pay for housing. In Venezuela, many of them were well-settled and had been in the business of real estate.

“We have enough food,” says Alejandro Parada, coordinator, adding “we were literally bombarded with clothes, but we want to return home! Please, let us come back to home!”

These migrants want to return like Scarlet O’Hara from famous American novel “Gone with the wind”, rushed home through the front and the fire.

Meanwhile, it is getting colder in the capital of Chile. As the winter is arriving, the elderly and pregnant women are worried the most among these migrants.

“I think that government [of Chile] has to resolve the issue of their relocation immediately,” said Indre, a resident of a neighboring house with the embassy.

Photo by Larisa Zinder/The Santiago Times

All the  neighbors invited mothers and children to rest in their apartments, brought food to them many times, but the migrants preferred to sleep in the church close to the embassy or to stay on the street.

“It is very noisy at night, we cannot sleep, some of them drink, sing songs,” another resident said.

It seems very strange, but Venezuelans living on the street, although many of them with higher education, and are unaccustomed to such extreme conditions, do not complain about life. They communicate with each other, opened an impromptu beauty salon, organized a space for children with toys.

Their only wish is to return home, and not to disturb order in the city, which is already closed for a total quarantine.

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