For many years thousands of Venezuelans created posters in their candlelit homes, drove to the capital, and protested the life that had been forced upon them. At the end of the day, their return has resulted only in a noticeable absence of food. With this being the new normal, many have chosen to flee.

As of 2018, millions of Venezuelans have migrated across South America to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile to escape the treacherous life they had endured. Many wonder what compels Venezuelans to move to third world countries, thus adding an economic strain to other governments. At the hands of the Venezuelan government, families have suffered hyperinflation, lack of medical care, food shortages, and other challenges. Lower and middle-class citizens have been forced to withstand awful conditions that directly affect their quality of life.

As a result of the corruption under President Maduro, electricity in major cities is now deemed a luxury. Rather than adequately delegating money to fund a permanent solution for the absence of electricity, more money is being funneled to government officials, while electricity is rationed in homes.

In addition to homes and business, hospitals have also been affected by a lack of resources. Because of the scarcity of medical treatments, many mothers travel with their babies to the neighboring country, Colombia, to receive prenatal and afterbirth healthcare. Healthcare is neither accessible nor affordable in both rural and urban areas due to government corruption. Members of Maduro’s administration continue to steal money from their people, indifferent towards the detrimental consequences their citizens have to face.

Since 2014, oil production, which accounts for 98% of exports in Venezuela, has been experiencing a steady decline. The drastic decrease in production from three million barrels of oil per day to a mere one million barrels per day indicates how severely damaged the Venezuelan economy is. Because of overspending most of the oil revenue, the government has been unable to maintain low prices on food. Therefore, many companies have turned to the black market, where items cost double the listed price of the Venezuelan government, to sell their products. Venezuelans are forced to pay ridiculous prices or travel to Colombia to buy staple foods. Citizens are forced to burn gas and cross country lines to buy something as basic as rice, just to put one meal on their table. For those unable to drive, the frequent decision of eating or having a roof over their head is weighed upon them.

Inflation has steadily risen to 750% since 2014. For example, a pair of Nike or Adidas sports shoes that costs $84 in New York costs $645 in Venezuela. President Murado claims these food shortages and hyperinflation are consequences of the  “economic war” waged by “foreign enemies.”

The first step the government needs to take to help its citizens is acknowledge the problem. For years residents have protested in the capital, Caracas, to express the problems they face and what needs to be done. But the government has been openly disregarding every problem its citizens endure, from food shortages to inflation to scarcity of electricity.

For those who chose to flee, life after Venezuela has not been easy. Some Peruvians want to help their neighbors but not at the expense of their own lives, and many have openly expressed their disapproval of the flood of Venezuelans in their country. Because of the conditions in Venezuela shaped by the government, heaps of migrants have experienced racial slurs and hate crimes in the countries where they have settled. Still, several places have welcomed Venezuelan with open arms, such as the 2,000 refugees who have made Scotland their home or the 10,000 migrants who have found a safe haven in New York. Although thousands have yet to be this fortunate they are forced to persevere. Despite the life in other countries being hard, life in Venezuela is harder.