A combination picture shows Venezuela migrants holding what they scrape on a garbage dump in the border city of Pacaraima, Brazil. Pilar Olivares / Reuters
Surrounded by vultures perched on trees awaiting their turn, Venezuelan migrants scrape out a living scavenging for metal, plastic, cardboard and food in a Brazilian border town's rubbish dump.
Trapped in a wasteland limbo, they barely make enough to feed their families and cannot afford a bus ticket to get away and find regular work in Brazilian cities to the south.
They blame leftist President Nicolas Maduro for mismanaging their oil-producing nation's economy and causing the deep crisis that has driven several million Venezuelans to emigrate across Latin America.
"I left because I was dying of hunger. We are trying to get ahead looking through this rubbish. Every night I pray to God to take me out of here," said Rosemary Tovar, a 23-year-old mother from Caracas.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the political and economic upheaval in their country through Pacaraima, the only road crossing to Brazil, overloading social services and causing tension in the northern border state of Roraima. More than 40,000 Venezuelans have swollen the population of state capital Boa Vista by 11 percent, Mayor Tereza Surita told Reuters.
The influx has also been a headache for Brazil's new, far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has so far resisted US pressure to take a more forceful attitude against Maduro. About 3.7 million people have left Venezuela in recent years, mostly via its western neighbor Colombia, according to the World Bank.
A dozen Venezuelans scramble to grab bags of rubbish that tumble from the Pacaraima trash truck twice a day. They then sift through the piles as fetid plumes of smoke rise from the smoldering landfill. Sometimes they scavenge at night using headlamps.
"We are looking for copper and cans, and hopefully something valuable, even food," said Astrid Prado, who is eight months pregnant. "My goal is to get out of here. Nobody wants to spend their life going through garbage."
Charly Sanchez, 42, arrived in Brazil a year ago and has not been able to get to Boa Vista to get his work papers so that he can find employment.
"We live off this. We make enough to buy rice, maybe some sausage, but not enough to buy a ticket to Boa Vista," he said.
Copper pays best, 13 reais ($3.30) a kilo, but it takes Sanchez a whole week to gather that much "wire by wire."
On a lucky day he said he had found a discarded cellphone, but not today. Some spaghetti, a small jar of sugar and a bit of cooking oil was Sanchez's pickings for the day.
Samuel Esteban, using a breathing mask for the smoke, stuffed cardboard into a large sack. For 50 kilos he will earn five reais, one third of the minimum monthly wage in Venezuela but just enough to buy a liter of milk in Brazil and some bread.
Tovar criticized Maduro for denying that Venezuela is facing a humanitarian crisis.
"He is so wrong. Look at us here in this dump," she said.
"If Maduro does not leave Venezuela, I will never return there."
Football legend Pele was taken to a Paris hospital as a precaution on Wednesday after suffering from an "infection" but is "doing well", according to members of his entourage.
A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.
Following a tip-off, state police intercepted a group of migrants who had been taken out of trucks in a western part of the city, which lies across the border from McAllen, Texas.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro replaced his electricity minister on Monday in a move to address a series of blackouts plaguing the country, while opposition leader Juan Guaido called on supporters to continue taking to the streets. Separately, Venezuela’s chief justice on Monday asked lawmakers to strip opposition leader Juan Guaido of immunity, taking a step towards prosecuting
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, attended a wedding reception in Ras Al Khaimah.
Egypt’s state news agency said expats have started voting on constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fatah Al Sisi to stay in power until 2030.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, inaugurated the debut edition of “Azyan” Exhibition and Conference at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC), in Sharjah on Thursday. The beauty, fashion and wellness event will run till April 21.