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MagazineMar 8, 2018
Poorer by the day, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have concluded that escape is their only option. With the country's currency virtually worthless and air travel beyond the reach of all but elites, buses have become Venezuela's caravans of misery, rolling day and night to its borders and returning largely empty to begin the process all over again. For nine days, a reporter and a photographer from Reuters accompanied the migrants as they headed for what they hoped were better days in Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
For nearly 5,000 miles, they rolled through some of South America's most spectacular landscapes, including the vertiginous Andean mountain range and the world's driest desert in Chile. But even though the Venezuelans were awed by the views whizzing by their window, their minds were mostly on the land they had left behind - and the uncertainty facing them in the lands ahead.
The shoes of Alvaro Betancourt, who is traveling by bus from Caracas to Chile, are seen through a hole in a door while he takes a shower at a bus station in Tumbes, Peru, November 11, 2017. Carlos Garcia Rawlins: "At the bus terminal in Tumbes the bathroom was in a bad state of repair; the toilets were dirty and didn't work properly, the floor and walls of the showers were covered in fungus, to the point that someone placed a piece of wood on the floor so they could stand under the water without touching the floor. But after several days without bathing, the conditions of the bathroom were not so important, so one by one, most of the travelers took a shower before continuing on the road". CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS