Venezuela: From shortstops to asylum seekers

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Most people know about Venezuela because of a string of Major League shortstops, from Luis Aparicio to David Concepcion to others.

Today, Venezuela is known for asylum seekers, as we saw in news reports:

New data shows Venezuelans are leading asylum requests to the United States for the first time, as the middle class in the country are fleeing the crashing, oil-dependent economy.

The U.S. government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that 18,155 Venezuelans submitted asylum requests last year, a 150 percent increase over 2015 and six times the level seen in 2014.

Data showed China in second place, with 17,745 requests coming from the country’s citizens.

In 2014, a large number of Venezuelans sought asylum following months of protests seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

All of this about people seeking asylum has a familiar tone to Cubans who went through a similar experience years ago.

Why are they seeking asylum?

It starts with a failed state, a country that does not work anymore. It was not long ago that Venezuela was a destination for people looking for a better life.  Today, they are desperately trying to leave.

Secondly, a failed economy, where the shelves are empty and a loaf of bread is a luxury.

Third, indifference from Latin American leaders who refuse to call for change in Venezuela.

Once upon a time, we looked forward to that young kid with a glove destined for the major leagues.  Today, we greet Venezuelans at the airport leaving their failed homeland.

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