The escalating crisis in Venezuela has witnessed hyperinflation, widespread hunger, and a large-scale exodus out of the country. Desperate circumstances have led more than three million Venezuelans to leave the country for a better life. According to recent figures released by the UN.Latin American countries have granted around 1.3 million residence permits and other state authorizations to Venezuelans in need.
The impact on the country has been generational and this effect is no different when applied to its technology sector. Once considered one of the centers of wealth and innovation in Latin America, the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, is now a shell of its own self, having seen a core of outstanding talent in other countries of the continent.
“At the end of the day they are going to leave,” Daniel Knobelsdorf told us about the situation in Caracas. “Over time, the market will enter a phase of cannibalization.”
Knobelsdorf has seen the carnage in Caracas first hand after spending much of his time within the city’s business circles.
Formerly an advisor to a parliamentary committee on Science, Technology and Innovation in Venezuela, Knobelsdorf is now a blockchain strategist for Kruger Corp and he’s regularly seen Venezuela’s top tech minds, especially among experienced candidates, find greener pastures elsewhere. “Most of the coaches here are very young,” he said. “When you get a person to get to the maximum or get older, they will go to Chile.”
The crisis in the first main symptom of Venezuela was a hyperinflationary currency that not only prevented the migration of technological talents from other Latin American nations, but also caused the wages of local workers to stagnate; From programmers to executives.
The situation has become so extreme that money is no longer counted, it is to weigh, as the large amount needed to buy basic goods has led to widespread poverty in the country.
According to a recent study by ENCOVI iIn Venezuela’s living conditions, 87 percent of the country now lives below the poverty line. And despite much Reporting on the so-called “cryptocurrency boom”. In Venezuela, the country’s inability to find cash for its more experienced workers has led many to look elsewhere.
A 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) was published by INSEAD Last year he exposed the cold facts of Venezuela’s “brain drain”. Out of 119 countries, Venezuela ranked 105 for the ability to compete for talent in specialized professions. Additionally, the country had a poor rating in terms of its ability to attract talent from elsewhere and was in the low end when it came to keeping their brightest minds. The tragedy of this ranking becomes too acute when realizing that this result is despite Venezuela’s high educational results and highly educated workforce.
The report also highlighted another common reality for Venezuelans: the uncertain security situation and the rampant increase in crime in the country. From the safety while riding the city’s public transport, to the constant danger of muggings, many have now decided to move from their home country for a safer future.
This also contributes to a bigger problem: the crumbling infrastructure needed for tech companies and professionals to continue working in the country. Venezuela was known as one of the Latin American countries with the best internet connectivity in the past. But now, with frequent power outages and spotty coverage, many companies have sought to opt out of the country. A recent study also showed That internet speed within Caracas is now less than half the average speed within Latin American countries.
In addition to the companies and multinationals that left the country as a result of the crisis, the country’s leading scientific minds have also followed suit.
According to a new article in Scientific American.This science, the “brain drain,” has its roots in the Chávez regime when former President Hugo Chávez fired employees of PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, after they went on strike against his radical policies. This led to a first wave of massive migration of scientists from the country to the United States.
Under his successor, Nicolás Maduro, things also did not recover for scientific research, with funds that almost evaporated. This trend also applies to universities. where low wages–as low as $ 18 a month–It has led to large-scale strikes in both public and private institutions in Venezuela.
Although many of the first waves of migration left for the United States. Others chose Latin American countries that were more developed and willing to accept Venezuelan professionals. Jorge pacheco was one of those workers who joined as a developer in intive-fdv in Buenos Aires, as part of the company’s active recruitment of Venezuelan workers. “The level of training is much higher in Argentina and much more technical. “It really gives us the opportunity to learn more by being here, since all the biggest companies are from Argentina,” Pacheco said.
The Argentine company, which creates software-based solutions for business enterprises, now has 10% of its workforce originally from Venezuela and, looking specifically for programmers for its office in Buenos Aires, intive-FDV has found that the program is a success in increasing the Diversity of your workforce.
Although Pacheco was one of the most fortunate, others cannot immediately enter technology jobs when they leave the country. Across the continent, many science and technology graduates have had to search for what job they can find, whether it be teaching, driving carpool working in restaurants or smaller jobs like cleaning houses to survive.
Colombia, having taken over the bulk of Venezuelan citizens after the crisis, has seen a large influx into its informal economy. With more than a million Venezuelans choosing to call their western neighbors home, it’s not surprising that Venezuelans are also among Colombia’s tech ecosystem.
Francisco Fernández arrived in Medellín, Colombia about 18 months ago. His heart condition coupled with Venezuela’s poor health system made the choice to leave a difficult but necessary step. His fortune came from the fact that The History Channel (Spanish) hired him as an entertainer on a remote contract, which allowed him to work anywhere in the world. Like many media professionals and businesses, including Latina Productions and VC Media, Fernández chose Colombia for its easy access to her home country.
“I would like to come back soon,” says Fernández. “There’s probably a lost generation, but I think a lot of people in the tech industry will want to come back.” I know many people in good positions in good companies who want to come back when Venezuela improves. ”
Perhaps that is why it is so crucial that Venezuela’s brightest minds find firmer and safer footholds elsewhere to give Venezuela a fighting chance when it finally finds political and economic stability. Recent worrying events The massive flight from Venezuela is likely to increase, with its tech sector seeking to suffer alongside it. A turning point, when it finally arrives, will undoubtedly be to turn to the Venezuelan diaspora to rebuild what has been destroyed.