As night approached, Sandra Cadiz wrapped her shivering daughter in a blanket and prayed for a ride up the frigid Colombian mountaintop known as “the icebox.”
The mother and daughter had fled Venezuela on foot, joining more than 650 migrants who walk away from the collapsing nation each day because they cannot afford a plane or bus ticket. Cadiz knew not everyone survived the trek across dangerous borders and an unforgiving terrain, but she feared staying in Venezuela would mean her already malnourished daughter going hungry.
How did this poor woman end up in this situation?
When Venezuela’s oil-rich economy was booming, her small stand selling candy, cigarettes and cellphone minutes paid for meat on the dinner table. And when a charismatic socialist named Hugo Chavez became president in 1999, she enthusiastically added Venezuelan flags and hats to her sales racks.
In those early years, she bought chicken, sugar, milk, even Kraft mayonnaise. After she won a seat on a new local council, the government rewarded her with a free two-bedroom apartment, where she marveled at the clear water that came out of the faucets.
Now, she's running away from the shithole that she helped to create.
[...] customers no longer had cash to spend at Cadiz’s store, and she struggled to feed Angelis, who a doctor said was at least 10 pounds underweight. She wrote repeatedly to government ministers begging for help as a single mother, starting her letters with, “A revolutionary hello!” She got no response.
(Laughs.) Obviously, Venezuela didn't implement socialism in the proper manner.