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Life is uphill for many Venezuelan professionals in Miami

February 6, 2019 9:02
Updated on February 6, 2019 at. 19:39

Professionals who once had a pleasant life in Venezuela are struggling to survive in Miami, a city where the last arrivals start from the bottom of cleaning cars and houses, preparing hamburgers, or driving Uber taxis.

"What more can be lost if we in our country are also zero, but that we threaten violence?" Says Raymond Baloa, a contractor who decided to move to Miami this year and now lives from managing a Uber.

For some months, 5,000 people have left Venezuela every day because of the deep crisis the country is going through in all orders, according to the United Nations Organization.

South Florida and Miami are especially one of Venezuela's favorite destinations, not only now but for two decades, and for the last arrivals, like Baloa, raising their heads is not easy, even though it was still more difficult in their country, that was told.

Francisco Fernández Galán, founder of the portal Bienvenidosvenezolanos, emphasizes that 50% of the Venezuelans who have arrived in the United States are professionals with a university degree.

"Ours is a cultured immigration, prepared, but I've seen doctors wash cars, teachers cleaners," he said.

Baloa, whose wife, an architect, works in a fast food restaurant, said that when you see that in your country "there is no food or medicine, you have to decide to survive."

"He knows you have to start from scratch in a foreign country," but it is better to stay there, says the businessman who has a teenage daughter who has adapted very well to school in Miami.

"We have never been ashamed of the job, any fight is small if it is about moving the family forward," he says.

"Darling X", a graduate of commerce who had his own home and two cars in his country, arrived six weeks ago with her husband, a graduate in education.

They have no children, and they came without knowing anyone. They just brought the money to rent a car a few days and move while they were looking for work.

"If we were to sleep in the car, it was not a problem you come here to see if you get a well-being even if it is short-lived," she told Efe this woman who will not be identified.

"Darling X" and her husband began working two days after arriving in Miami. First cleaning hotel rooms. Even for two weeks, she accepted work as a domestic employee from Monday to Saturday.

"It started at 7:00 am and ended at 9:00 pm. I had to do everything: from cleaning the whole house to shopping for food, cleaning windows, walking the garden, preparing and serving the three Meals Ah, and the lady's snack at 4:00 am, "she says.

More than 70 hours for $ 300 a week when Florida's minimum wage is $ 8.46 per hour and after 40 hours pay extra time.

All this happens, says Fernandez, while the political or humanitarian asylum is approved: "There are about 170,000 Venezuelans living in Miami, most of them with a tourist visa, by plane, but because they are not allowed to work , they remain in limbo and they are forced to accept any job. "

Unfortunately, some are also being abused.

"One of the biggest surprises I've had," says Baloa, "is how people can benefit from someone in crisis."

"Our needs are becoming a part-economy: In the business of others," says Baloa, who unfortunately recalls how a man who recommended him to a job in the building earned four dollars every hour he worked.

Abuse is also present in the home. Until recently for $ 600, a studio apartment was rented out in Miami. Now in family apartments with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, in average neighborhoods some Venezuelans pay 750 for a small room with no private bathroom.

"In our case" says "Darling", "the living room in the apartment we live in is divided by a curtain because another person, for $ 500, rents the room, we share the bathroom with her."

"Darling" adds that for a few days he also rented a vehicle. "I returned it because they asked me to pay 570 a month, and it was very old, in poor condition and it stank of marijuana … We prefer the bus, although it takes two hours and three buses each trip".

Now, with the possibility of a change in his country in the hands of Juan Guaidó, recognized as a temporary president of Venezuela by part of the international community, they do not rule out the idea of ​​returning, even though they say it will be necessary to "Allow time for everything to start."

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