MagazineMar 8, 2018
Poorer by the day, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have concluded that escape is their only option. With the country's currency virtually worthless and air travel beyond the reach of all but elites, buses have become Venezuela's caravans of misery, rolling day and night to its borders and returning largely empty to begin the process all over again. For nine days, a reporter and a photographer from Reuters accompanied the migrants as they headed for what they hoped were better days in Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
For nearly 5,000 miles, they rolled through some of South America's most spectacular landscapes, including the vertiginous Andean mountain range and the world's driest desert in Chile. But even though the Venezuelans were awed by the views whizzing by their window, their minds were mostly on the land they had left behind - and the uncertainty facing them in the lands ahead.
Karelys Betancourt (C) looks at men pushing a cart loaded with luggage which belongs to people traveling by bus from Caracas to Ecuador in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela, November 8, 2017. Since 2015, vehicular traffic between Venezuela and Colombia has been restricted, so the first stage of the trip ends in the Venezuelan border city of San Antonio de Tachira. There, travelers have to leave the first bus and carry all their luggage as they cross by feet to the Colombian side, after going through several customs checkpoints and getting their passport stamped. CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS