Venezuelans passports are in short supply as millions try to flee troubled nation.
Venezuelans are suffering shortages of basic food, medicine and even toilet paper. Now it appears that Venezuela lacks the materials needed to meet the soaring demand for new passports. This has made it almost impossible for those few Venezuelans with the monetary means to escape the troubled Latin American nation.
Estimates of how many passport requests the socialist government received last year vary from between 1.8 million to 3 million. However, only 300,000 of the elusive documents were doled out. Everyday, hundreds of people line up outside the passport agency, known as Saime, in the capital of Caracas in the hopes of obtaining one.
It’s an ironic, and yet sad situation, for a country that used to be one of Latin America’s wealthiest and one that was used to seeing people flock to, not away from.
Saime has stated that the backup in processing passport applications is because the agency lacks enough “materials.” However, they did not specify what that means. Observers say that the government may not be able to afford the paper to make the passports. Paper products in the country, including toilet paper, are in short supply. But skeptics think the Maduro government may also be trying to keep people from leaving the beleaguered nation.
Adding to the overall misery are a drastic rise in violent crime. In addition, there have been rolling blackouts and widespread and often times bloody protests against the government. There have been casualties and deaths on both sides of the protests. The international community has accused the government of human rights abuses and political oppression.