Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Brain Drain!

"If you have young children, you want out. If you have assets that have been seized, or may be seized, you want out as quickly as possible," Roett added. "If you have land that will be expropriated, leave sooner than later. As the alta (upper) bourgeoisie becomes more and more of a target, you want to leave before Hugo Chavez shuts the door."

One of my fears for the future of Venezuela is that many of the educated people are leaving and this will not bode well for the country. Since I arrived here in the states just a few short weeks ago, I have already ran into many Venezuelans who have left the country to start a new life here.

I also have learned that some mission boards are now requesting that their missionary families with children of Venezuelan citizenship return to the states, at least temporarily . Some of the new Constitutional reforms put into jeopardy the rights of the parents over their children. We had decided to do this as of last year as we see only a downward spiral in Venezuela. There is little to encourage one that things will improve.

I saw this statement by Chavez just this week.

The current government is "instilling an ideology into the society" and such a process covers elementary schools, pre-school, garrisons and universities, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. "We have been accused of instilling an ideology into the society, and I say 'yes!'", Chávez noted.

We have been called alarmist, but,in my very humble opinion... when it comes to my children, better safe than sorry!!!

1) We visited with one couple last week who had left Venezuela just two months ago. The father is a lawyer and the wife works in administration with an international company. When they went to re- enroll their children in school in Puerto Ordaz, they were asked by the school to surrender their children's Italian passports as they are Venezuelan-Italian.

This frightened the father to the point that he immediately left with his two children for the USA. The wife only was able to join them last week. Her company was able to get her a transfer to Miami and even a job for her husband. Two intelligent people with much to offer are now making a new life in the USA.

The father told us that when they asked for his children's passports, he was afraid that his children would end up trapped in Venezuela and unable to leave if he waited any longer.

2) We have a young lady and her 6 year old daughter attending the Spanish church where we go. She left Venezuela to keep her child out of the school system.

3) There is another family, just one block from us, the wife is Venezuelan and the husband is American but grew up in Venezuela. They had been serving as missionaries in Tachira until a few months ago. They also left fearing for the future of their 6 children as they are Venezuelan.

4) We received an email from another family with children of dual citizenship. The wife is also Venezuelan. They had moved back to Venezuela last December, against our advice, and now are returning to Canada after only 6 months.Why? they have two Venezuelan sons.

5) I had a surprise a few days back. When I opened my door, a friend from Venezuela was standing there. They had worked and served in the same tribe as we had just on another river. They also left Venezuela a year ago. It was so good to see him!! He was able to catch us up on many others we had lost track of.

6) Another family left last month and their children had to leave on their Canadian passports after trying to renew their Venezuelan passports for over a year. When one enters or leaves a country on the other passport, we are told that according to international law, you surrender the other citizenship. So now, even though the mother is Venezuelan and the children were born there, the children can not enter except as Canadians with a visa. If you can get one.

7) The driver of the truck which brought our container from Miami used to live in Valencia, Venezuela. He escaped Cuba in his youth and now says Venezuela is going to be just like Cuba. So he left.

A frequent commenter here, The Beak,The Beak Speaks, has said that he sees Venezuelan visa applications cross his desk everyday. He also mentioned that American companies in Venezuela are trying to get the families of their employees out of Venezuela.

Obviously, I am not alone in my concern for the children! We had decided last year when we began to see some of the new Education Laws, that we were removing our children from the country...just in case. After what we saw done to the missionaries in the jungle, after we saw the way the constitution was ignored by the government, we realized this regime does what it wants, when it wants, and there is no legal recourse. To suppose you will have "rights" under this government is dangerous. Ne se meta con mis hijos!!!!

This is so sad for Venezuela!!! Many good, hardworking, educated people will no longer be able to contribute to the future of Venezuela.

I am seeing a Brain Drain!


Julia_1984 said...

Everyone has the right to seek for a better life. My family is almost asking me to do it because they know how hard must be for me take this decision (and I must do it alone). I still don't know what to do with many expectations I had about my country. Or even my university for being more exact. I have studied so hard and maybe, I must translate my studies to a foreign language. Theres many good bye parties and this is not the first time that people leave Venezuela, but its the first time that people are forced to leave, dont you think?

Jungle Mom said...

Julia, if you can leave now, you may be in a position to help the rest of your family that stays.

Gayle said...

I'm so glad the people you mentioned in this article had the good sense to not turn over their children's passports and to get them out of the country!

So, along with all his other faults which are to numerous to name, Chavez also steals people's kids! What next? Nevermind. With him anything is possible. I hope Julia will get out too, and I'm so happy that you did.

jennifer said...

Rita I think that if we took anything from WWII it was many knew things were bad but held on. They stayed to the (sometimes demise) of their loved ones.

Your children would be tools to be used, and tragically many others will be(of those who stay)

When things are bad, such as in Venezuela there was nothing else to do. The moment you are out you can be what you are, but you had to leave.

In a few months I cannot imagine what it will be like, let alone a few years.

I think that the Left in the US had better understand that Hugo is not joking and he is not a friend of the US.

Elízabeth said...

Ay Rita... this is so sad and true!

Some people can leave, if they have dual nationality. The rest of us are stuck here! Unless we risk it and illegally enter another country.

This is a very touchy subject on every family reunion. Old ones don't want to leave, some ask the young ones to do it. And SOME others say NO, you should not leave. It is very stressfull.

Julia dear, I'd say something else: you are young! it is easier to do it while young. Do not have any doubts if you have the means.


Jungle Mom said...

A mis amigos Venezolanos, Ahora es mas facil conseguir asilio se eres Venezolano. Hay mucjo mas oportunidades y me han dicho q lo estan haciendo mas rapido q antes.

FeathersMcGraw said...

"Old ones don't want to leave, some ask the young ones to do it. And SOME others say NO, you should not leave. It is very stressfull."

Yes, that is also my experience. As for Julia, only you can take that decision, you are right. I had a bunch of Venezuelan friends in the early years I moved to the US, Chavez was installing in power back in the day, only a few wanted to stay, the rest left back.

I have very close relatives, including my siblings and my parents who say that they are not going anywhere out of Caracas.

FeathersMcGraw said...

Even for me, who adapted pretty well to the change, have gotten very hard sometimes, specially because of the family and friends are far away, if not in Venezuela, far from where I live. It hits you hard sooner or later.

Michael said...

Wow, that's a lot of people that you know getting out of Venezuela... and you're just one person!

You said:
children had to leave on their Canadian passports after trying to renew their Venezuelan passports for over a year. When one enters or leaves a country on the other passport, we are told that according to international law, you surrender the other citizenship.

As far as I know, this is not a matter of international law, but rather a matter of the laws of the countries involved.

The US, for example, does not recognize dual citizenship for adults or native-born US citizens. Foreign born citizens under 18 can carry more than one passport, but will need to choose one (or stop entering the US) at their 18th birthday.

What this means is that I, my wife, and our older daughter cannot enter the States on our Israeli passports. Our younger daughter (Sabra Baby) actually can do that, but then she'll have to choose one or the other at age 18. That would be silly, so we all use US documents to enter or leave the States.

Israel does permit dual citizenship (after all, it's a country with 35% immigrant population), but required that Israeli citizens enter and leave the country on Israeli papers.

I don't know the regulations regarding Venezuela, but it sounds like you got out at the right time...

Pam said...

That is something that in so short of a time here in the U.S. you have met or spoken with so many who have chosen to leave Ven.

In my small town, I've met 2 Venezuelans who wanted out of Chavez's mess. One owns the nail shop I frequent, the other performed my bone density test last month! Both are ontelligent, savvy peeople!