Gabriel could not stand Venezuela any longer. Since 2010 he left his beloved Caracas to settle in Costa Rica.
At that time, the political crisis was not what it is now. Hugo Chávez was alive and Nicolas Maduro was not president… he was not even close. However, the pressure of what was coming was enough to decide to look for a new destination.
Six years later, his family is still in Caracas and he admits that the situation in his country is catastrophic. As consequence, many of his friends and acquaintances found a new country, such as Costa Rica or Panama, to start a new life.
The data do not lie. Refugee claims raised by Venezuelans exponentially grew this 2016. In September, the Directorate General of Immigration (DGME) received 721 requests from citizens of that country. In August 2015 there were only 165.
Vladimir de la Cruz, former ambassador of Costa Rica to Venezuela from 2008 to 2010, explained that Venezuelans are looking for the social and economic guarantees they have lost.
The crisis causes shortages of basic producrs such as toilet paper, rices, oil, pasta, butter, flour, medicines, among others. That, aggravated in the last 2 years, triggered the interest in leaving the country.
Venezuelans are the second, most important mass of people looking for refuge. The South Americans are only surpassed by the Salvadorans, who see in Costa Rica an opportunity to escape the violence that lashes them with cruelty.