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In Manaus, Venezuelans Dodge Crisis and Take over Beauty Salons

05/15/2017 - 12h52

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FABIANO MAISONNAVE
FROM MANAUS

Notorious for snatching Miss World competitions around the world, Venezuela is also exporting what made them. In Manaus, it is becoming increasingly common to cut hair or complete a cosmetic procedure while listening to the Portunhol - known as the blending of Spanish and Portuguese - of newcomers.

Eyelash extender Wuilerma Rodriguez, 33, who has been in Manaus for a year and a half, says that friends convinced her to move, and she managed to rent her home in four months. Currently, she works for a swanky cosmetic center in Vieiralves, an upper-class neighborhood in the city, and recruited four other friends who also work in the industry.

In the Amazonian capital, Josué, a 30-year-old barber, says that, three years ago, the profession allowed him to find work and stability much faster than other Venezuelans. The barbershop where he works is part of a cluster of hairdressers - four of the six employ Venezuelans.

"They have a standard of quality that we do not have," says Alcimeia de Brito, owner of Belíssima salon, who employs a Venezuelan. She says that she tried to hire a manicurist from the neighboring country, but salons are in competition for them.

Bruno Kelly/Folhapress
Venezuelan barber Josué, 30
Venezuelan barber Josué, 30

The experience of these professionals contrasts with that of nearly 450 Warao Indians, who, arriving from rural or fisherman areas, have been squatting near the bus station, which pushed the city to delcare a state of social emergency.

The creator of the Venezuelans in Manaus Facebook page with nearly 3,700 members, cook Alfredo Santistevan says that many of his countrymen with higher education end up working low-skill jobs.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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