Hundreds of Guyanese live in Caracas and in the other cities but the majority – tens of thousands – live in the border areas, many of them illegally, Guyana’s ambassador to Venezuela, Dr Odeen Ishmael said.
In a recent interview, Dr Ishmael told Stabroek News that the former vice-president and foreign affairs minister of Venezuela had estimated that some 80,000 Guyanese were living mainly in the border areas of Puerto Ordaz and San Felix, about four to five hours drive out of Caracas.
“We don’t know the actual numbers but a large number there is illegal. The numbers fluctuate because some go to Venezuela and some come back to Guyana periodically,” he said, referring to the nomadic nature of the people who lived mainly in the border areas and who had relatives living on both sides of the border.
The Guyanese who went to Venezuela were from different social and economic groupings than those who migrated to North America and other destinations. They went to Venezuela looking for jobs including mining, farming or small-scale commercial enterprises.
In the border areas, Ishmael said, the Guyanese “have established some very interesting places like Puerto Ordaz and in San Felix. If you go to those localities you would think you are in Guyana. All the businesses along the streets are owned by Guyanese and the buildings are owned by Guyanese. The market places