Venezuelans flee to Mexico to escape economic crisis

Global Business

The economic crisis in Venezuela has started a major wave immigration out of the country, to Mexico in particular. 

CCTV America’s Martin Markovits reports. Follow Martin Markovits on Twitter @MartinMarkovits

Daniel Ramirez never had a choice in leaving Venezuela. Taking advantage of a tourist visa, he went to Mexico to work illegally as a photographer. He had to do something to help his elderly mother get access to her much need heart medication and also put also food on the table for his family.

“In my mother’s house lives my sister, my two nephews,” Ramirez said. “There is no cornflower, or rice and pasta. Things are getting tough and everyday they are raising the prices.”

The conditions in Venezuela have given people like Daniel few options. The International Monetary Fund said inflation is expected to surpass 700 percent in 2016. This has destroyed the earning and purchasing power of most Venezuelans.

Shortages of all goods are widespread and rampant crime has engulfed the country, which has caused some Venezuelans to flock to Mexico.

According to figures from Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration, between 2012 and 2015, the number of Venezuelans coming to Mexico on temporary visas has tripled. But these figures don’t account for the number of Venezuelans like Ramirez who are coming to Mexico illegally. Those figures are unknown.

Mexico’s proximity to the U.S., it’s Spanish speaking culture, relatively stable economy and no restrictions on tourist visas have made it a very attractive place for some Venezuelans.

Manuel Delgado, demographic analyst, said most of those leaving come from the middle and professional classes — people who can afford the travel and lodging costs.

“Crime has been the main cause for the migration out of Venezuelan to Mexico,” Delgado said. “But it is also the destruction of the labor market in Venezuela and obviously people are finding ways to go to a place where there is a better quality of life.”

But it’s not just Mexico where Venezuelans are heading. Recent U.S. citizenship and immigration data shows Venezuelans have climbed to second place among nationalities seeking asylum in the U.S. — a number that could increase.