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Jobless, Bolivians Head Back to Their Land

05/09/2016 - 10h09

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EMILIO SANT'ANNA
AVENER PRADO
SPECIAL ENVOYS TO CHILE

Chile is not the only country receiving immigrants from Brazil and Haitians are not the only ones leaving the country. The economic crisis is also seeing Bolivians head back to their land.

Employment announcements for tailor and seamstress offices remain fixed in the stores and cafes characteristic of the Brás district, in downtown São Paulo, a regular meeting point for that population.

The problem is another one, says Luiz Vasquez, President of the Association for Bolivian Entrepreneurs in the area. Like the Haitians, the Bolivians cannot survive around here anymore or save up money to send to their families.

"December, January and February were the worst months in history [for the association]", said Vazquez. "Sales went down by 50% and 30% of offices closed their doors."

According to the Federal Police, the movement of Bolivians crossing Brazilian borders to other destinations- primarily Bolivia-increased.

The numbers reveal the movement patterns of that population, but cannot be considered definitive exits, since the same person can leave and come back to Brazil.

For some, the crisis only stirred up a long felt desire. "It's not just that. There's also the issue of safety. In Bolivia, I can walk in peace, here there is one assault per week", said a business owner of Brás neighborhood, who did not want to be identified and who plans to return to Bolivia.

Two weeks ago, it was Álvaro Torres' time to go back. After almost three years in Brazil, he gave up. "I don't make enough anymore. I will become a bus driver back home", the former tailor says.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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