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Without gas for cremation, even dying is a struggle in Venezuela

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018



A cemetery at Maracaibo, Venezuela | REUTERS

Cemeteries in Venezuela are unable to offer cremations because they lack natural gas, which is in ever shorter supply even though the OPEC nation holds some of the world’s largest energy reserves.

Venezuelans are also unable to afford to leave their relatives’ remains in the morgue while waiting for gas supplies. Each extra day costs more than a month of minimum wage.

Many are resorting to leaving bodies in unmarked common graves at the edge of cemeteries, an area traditionally reserved for unclaimed bodies.

The decay of Venezuela’s oil industry burdened citizens for months with long gasoline queues and shortages of cooking gas, and has now hit families bidding farewell to loved ones.

Venezuelans have shifted toward cremations, which cost about a third of burials, but growing demand has crematories struggling to obtain natural gas.

Members of a dozen families said in interviews they now wait as long as 10 days.

Shortages of wood and metal for coffins and cement for graves have complicated traditional burials. Some families wait for crematories to obtain propane gas. But the wait also boosts costs, with annual inflation nearing 1 million percent.

Shortages of medicine, food and basic goods have been constant since the 2014 collapse of oil prices battered Venezuela’s socialist economy. Around 3 million people have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.

President Nicolas Maduro blames an “economic war” led by political adversaries with Washington’s help. The Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on cremations. — Reuters

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Venezuelans arrive in Peru ahead of passport deadline

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Venezuelan migrants wait at the Interpol headquarters to get paperwork needed for a temporary residency permit in Lima, Peru, August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

It’s been one year and one day since David Pernia, a Venezuelan father of three, left his family behind to find construction work in Peru. With the country deeply mired in an economic crisis, the only way his family could survive was for him to take his chances here, in Lima, 2,700 miles (4350 kilometers) from Caracas.

With Peru announcing that it will begin requiring Venezuelans arriving to carry passports starting August 25, his wife Yance and their three children boarded buses to make their way through Colombia, Ecuador and finally to Peru to be reunited with him.

“My husband has been working here one year and he has done very well, thank God, and we’ve already been through 3 and a half years of this situation (crisis) in Venezuela,” she said. “So because of this situation of having the family far away from each other, we decided that since he couldn’t return anymore, we decided that we would come to be with him.”

As he waited for his father, 9-year-old Yoandro Pernia said he was excited to see him again but couldn’t shake the sadness of leaving behind his home, extended family, and friends.

“I’m happy and sad. It’s very difficult for me to express how I am. I’m happy because at last, I’ll see my father; but I’m sad because I left many people behind,” he said.

Just minutes later, Yoandro pressed his body against his father in a deep bear hug, then wiped away tears as his father hugged and kissed each of his two younger sisters.

“It just so happens that yesterday was the one year anniversary of my being here, of having left my children in Venezuela,” said Pernia, who was all smiles. “It just so happens that was yesterday. And today, one year and one day later, I am welcoming them here,” said Pernia, before escorting the family out of the bus station and through Lima, where they will make their new home.

The Pernias are just some of the Venezuelan migrants making the week-long arduous trip to Peru in an effort to arrive ahead of the August 25 deadline in which Peru will require passports for entry.

Many of those on the bus were being reunited with loved ones who had previously settled in Peru as millions have left Venezuela over the past year, settling across Latin America.

Mauricio Aparicio who works at the Marco Polo bus station said he sends money back home to help his father, who is battling stomach cancer.

Peru estimates that more than 20,000 Venezuelans could arrive in the country before the August 25 deadline. More than 400,000 Venezuelans have entered Peru in the last two years.

Previously, Peru had allowed Venezuelans to enter without passports but, as the increasing numbers of fleeing Venezuelans put pressure on local services, Lima introduced the new measure that requires all Venezuelans to hold passports.

The ballooning exodus has inundated border towns and flooded some Latin American job markets with low-skilled Venezuelans desperate for work in order to send money back to their convulsed homeland. — Reuters

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7.3 magnitude quake rattles supermarket, office building in Venezuela

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

People walking near debris after a major quake hit the northern coast of Venezuela on August 21, 2018. Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins


A major earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck the northern coast of Venezuela on Tuesday (August 21) and shook buildings as far away as the capital, Caracas, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Cell phone footage from Reuters showed people in a supermarket reacting to the tremor as items fell from store shelves in the city of Puerto Ordaz.

In Caracas, framed pictures hung on office walls swayed as the quake shook buildings.

The quake was centered near the town of Carupano, an area of poor fishing communities and was felt as far away as neighboring Colombia to the east and nearby island nations like Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Lucia, to the west and north.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said in an internet broadcast on Tuesday.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Center said the quake could cause small tsunami waves along the coast near the epicenter, 23 miles (37 km) southwest of the town of Carupano.

USGS Geophysicist Jessica Turner said the quake’s depth, 76.5 miles (123.11 km) below the surface, would dampen some of the shakings but not enough to prevent damage. — Reuters

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Venezuela migrant faces robbery, cold, hunger on journey to Peru

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2018


Venezuela migrant Johany Yoselin with her three children | REUTERS


The already difficult journey of one Venezuelan woman fleeing her home country just got a whole lot worse.

Twenty-eight-year-old Johany Yoselin, a former candy vendor, left Venezuela with her three young children, hoping to pass through Ecuador and resettle in Peru. But as she entered Ecuador on Monday (August 20), a tough situation became tougher when someone stole her luggage.

They left her with one small backpack and identification documents for her and her children. But Yoselin has nothing else and doesn’t know what to do next.

The robbery compounds difficulties Yoselin was already facing when, over the weekend, Ecuador put in passport controls on Venezuelans trying to enter the country.

She said she lost contact with the children’s father and is now struggling to keep her family warm on the streets amid frigid temperatures.

Yoselin is one of the hundreds of Venezuelans caught in similar situations.

Over the weekend, hundreds of desperate people who traveled days from Venezuela were prevented from passing the checkpoint near the southwestern town of Ipiales by a regulation set by Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno that kicked in on Saturday.

More than a million Venezuelan migrants have entered Colombia over the last 15 months, according to official estimates, but Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil also have received many.

Over the last two years, especially, many Venezuelans have struggled to obtain passports amid the OPEC nation’s political and economic chaos.

This year alone, 423,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Rumichaca border. — Reuters

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