Photos: Venezuelan emigres build a new life in Spain, fret for homeland

UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2019 03:58 PM IST
Arelis Morales, 30, and her husband Jose's aunt talk at the Monasterio de Trandeiras, Xinzo de Limia, Spain. Until January, Jose Martinez and his wife Arelis Morales were in the eye of Venezuela’s political storm: he worked for an opposition leader, she advised human rights groups. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Jose Martinez, 31, and Arelis Morales read about the situation in Venezuela, in Spanish newspapers at a bar called ‘Caracas’ in Xinzo de Limia. But after years of opposing President Nicolas Maduro’s increasingly repressive government - including 2017 protests that ended with 125 deaths - they decided to put family life first. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Jose Martinez and Arelis Morales are helped by Arelis’s mother, aunt and friend, to pack their bags, in Caracas. “The main reason for leaving was that we want to have children,” Martinez said, from the town of Xinzo de Limia in Spain’s Galicia region where they left to live with relatives. “It hurts, but we have to move on. How could we expose a child to everything that goes on in Venezuela?” (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Arelis and Martinez attend a goodbye gathering with her family at her grandmother's house in Caracas. Martinez, a coordinator in the party of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, suffered depression last year but is recovering in Xinzo de Limia and reinventing himself as a photographer, doing documentary and wedding work. Morales wants to stay working in human rights, while seeking to have a baby. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Jose Martinez, Arelis Morales and Jose’s uncles during a hike in Castelaus, Spain. “We gave everything we could for the country until my body literally said: ‘I cannot take this anymore’,” Morales said, saying stress stopped her getting pregnant. Both are encouraged by recent events in Venezuela where Juan Guaido claimed interim presidency. The couple hope to move back if Maduro loses. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Mariana Elias, 27, and her friends gather for a goodbye party at her house in Caracas, Venezuela. According to official data, Venezuelans living in Spain rose to 109,880 by mid-2018, up nearly 19,000 in the previous six months. Those figures probably do not include many dual nationality citizens who also moved, people like Mariana Elias. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Mariana Elias looks out the airport window before her flight to Spain. Before moving in January, Elias spent years in Caracas on degrees in chemical and production engineering, helping pay her way working as a teacher. She protested on the streets against Maduro, was faculty student council president at Simon Bolivar university, and felt the chaos of Caracas close up when robbed on three occasions. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Mariana Elias talks about her day with her older sister in Barcelona, Spain. Her reason for moving to Barcelona was straightforward: “My job ambitions. As I really prepared myself academically, I wanted to have the opportunity in the long-term to progress and upgrade. I wasn’t able to see that in Venezuela right now.” For now has started at a British company organising conferences. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Mariana Elias shops at the supermarket near her apartment in Barcelona. In Spain she enjoys basic services such as public transport that her compatriots can no longer take for granted. “In Venezuela I would never take public transport unless I had no other choice. I would pray and ask all the deities to make me invisible so I wouldn’t get robbed,” said the bubbly, bilingual Elias. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)
Elias enjoys Venezuelan traditions with compatriots in Spain. “The Venezuelans I know are all trying to work and make ends meet. But we meet up to talk about our country and to eat ‘arepas’,” she said, referring to the cornmeal flatbread staple. “I am not able to leave Venezuela out of my mind, never.” But she added that she had no plans to return home any time soon. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Arelis Morales, 30, and her husband Jose's aunt talk at the Monasterio de Trandeiras, Xinzo de Limia, Spain. Until January, Jose Martinez and his wife Arelis Morales were in the eye of Venezuela’s political storm: he worked for an opposition leader, she advised human rights groups. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Jose Martinez, 31, and Arelis Morales read about the situation in Venezuela, in Spanish newspapers at a bar called ‘Caracas’ in Xinzo de Limia. But after years of opposing President Nicolas Maduro’s increasingly repressive government - including 2017 protests that ended with 125 deaths - they decided to put family life first. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Jose Martinez and Arelis Morales are helped by Arelis’s mother, aunt and friend, to pack their bags, in Caracas. “The main reason for leaving was that we want to have children,” Martinez said, from the town of Xinzo de Limia in Spain’s Galicia region where they left to live with relatives. “It hurts, but we have to move on. How could we expose a child to everything that goes on in Venezuela?” (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Arelis and Martinez attend a goodbye gathering with her family at her grandmother's house in Caracas. Martinez, a coordinator in the party of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, suffered depression last year but is recovering in Xinzo de Limia and reinventing himself as a photographer, doing documentary and wedding work. Morales wants to stay working in human rights, while seeking to have a baby. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Jose Martinez, Arelis Morales and Jose’s uncles during a hike in Castelaus, Spain. “We gave everything we could for the country until my body literally said: ‘I cannot take this anymore’,” Morales said, saying stress stopped her getting pregnant. Both are encouraged by recent events in Venezuela where Juan Guaido claimed interim presidency. The couple hope to move back if Maduro loses. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Mariana Elias, 27, and her friends gather for a goodbye party at her house in Caracas, Venezuela. According to official data, Venezuelans living in Spain rose to 109,880 by mid-2018, up nearly 19,000 in the previous six months. Those figures probably do not include many dual nationality citizens who also moved, people like Mariana Elias. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Mariana Elias looks out the airport window before her flight to Spain. Before moving in January, Elias spent years in Caracas on degrees in chemical and production engineering, helping pay her way working as a teacher. She protested on the streets against Maduro, was faculty student council president at Simon Bolivar university, and felt the chaos of Caracas close up when robbed on three occasions. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Mariana Elias talks about her day with her older sister in Barcelona, Spain. Her reason for moving to Barcelona was straightforward: “My job ambitions. As I really prepared myself academically, I wanted to have the opportunity in the long-term to progress and upgrade. I wasn’t able to see that in Venezuela right now.” For now has started at a British company organising conferences. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Mariana Elias shops at the supermarket near her apartment in Barcelona. In Spain she enjoys basic services such as public transport that her compatriots can no longer take for granted. “In Venezuela I would never take public transport unless I had no other choice. I would pray and ask all the deities to make me invisible so I wouldn’t get robbed,” said the bubbly, bilingual Elias. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

Elias enjoys Venezuelan traditions with compatriots in Spain. “The Venezuelans I know are all trying to work and make ends meet. But we meet up to talk about our country and to eat ‘arepas’,” she said, referring to the cornmeal flatbread staple. “I am not able to leave Venezuela out of my mind, never.” But she added that she had no plans to return home any time soon. (Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen / REUTERS)

About The Gallery

The exodus of more than 3 million Venezuelans from an imploding economy, crime-ridden streets and constant political violence, is a well-known phenomenon, especially the flood of lower-income migrants around Latin America. There has been less attention paid to middle-class professionals who, though enjoying more resources, also face agonising dilemmas, often giving up years of training and work. Thousands of Venezuelans have moved to Spain in recent years, many reconnecting with roots after waves of immigration in the opposite direction following the 20th century World Wars.

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