Rich or penniless, Venezuelans flock to Madrid
MADRID: Fleeing the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in their country, Venezuelans have arrived in Spain in their thousands, some of them penniless, others so rich they are buying sumptuous flats. Fran Leal, 36, came to Spain from Maracay in northern Venezuela two months ago with his wife and two children.
“Do you have a small suitcase? I’m going to Toledo, I’ve found a job,” he asks as he enters the Casa Venezuela, an association that helps struggling Venezuelans in Madrid.
An electrician, he is going to the city south of Madrid to work illegally for six months.
“I don’t have a choice as I don’t yet have ID papers and I have no more savings,” he says, as the crisis in Venezuela deepens with opposition leader Juan Guaido’s self-proclamation as interim president.
Unlike Leal, Juan Leonardo Lopez has not found a job since he arrived three months ago.
“Before the crisis, I wasn’t a millionaire but I lived fine, I had a great car and everything I needed,” he says at a Venezuelan opposition protest in Madrid.
He says he saw children die of dehydration in the hospital in Maracay where he worked.