A historic exodus is leaving Venezuela without teachers, doctors and electricians

Think of Venezuela like one big factory where the societal assembly line no longer works — partly because there are fewer and fewer people to run it.

During the first five months of the year, roughly 400,000 Venezuelans have fled the country, following 1.8 million who left over the last two years, according to the Central University of Venezuela. Yet even those numbers may not fully capture the scope of the exodus. Aid workers dealing with the crisis in bordering nations say an average of 4,600 Venezuelans a day have been leaving since Jan. 1 — putting the outflow during this year alone at nearly 700,000.

The Venezuelans are running from a nation broken by failed socialist policies, mismanagement, corruption and lower global oil prices — the country’s principal source of cash.

“It’s not just about a few doctors leaving anymore,” said Tomas Páez, a migration expert at the Central University of Venezuela. “It’s about [understaffed] hospitals closing down whole floors.”