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.
David Vargas (R), 12, cries as he sits next to his aunt after saying goodbye to relatives while he waits to board a bus to travel from Caracas to Guayaquil, at the Rutas de America's bus station in Caracas, Venezuela, November 7, 2017. The moment before getting on the bus was very sad, filled with silence, tension, hugs and tears. Carlos Garcia Rawlins: "It was very hard to see the disconsolate way David was crying, once he said goodbye to his loved ones and realized that he was about to start the journey to Chile". CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS