Venezuelans Fleeing Socialism Find Community at a Miami Storage Facility

Raíces Venezolanas, or Venezuelan Roots, gives household items and a heavy dose of moral support to immigrant families showing up in South Florida.


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Venezuelan immigrants start lining up at a storage facility in the Miami neighborhood of Doral every Friday afternoon. After they complete a survey, a team of volunteers guides them through a series of storage units, where they can select from toys, sheets, electronics, holiday decorations, clothes, and other household items.

"This is your new house in this country—it's the beginning of your future, and that's why you have to give a touch of love," says human rights activist and Venezuelan expatriate Patricia Andrade, who started the nonprofit that oversees this operation in 2016.

Andrade pays most of the expenses—including rent on the storage units—for Raíces Venezolanas, or "Venezuelan Roots," herself.

"When I come to this place and I meet the families," she says, "I know I'm doing the right thing."

Produced by Claudia Murray and Jim Epstein. Audio post-production by Ian Keyser. Subtitles by María José Inojosa Salina. Thumbnail by Lex Villena.

Music: "Abakua" and "I Feel Sad" by Scanglobe used under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Creative Commons License; "Sadie" by Adam Henry Garcia used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives Creative Commons License.

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  1. This article has a huge amount of missing information.

    1. Yeah, the fact that the founder pays most of the expenses out of her salary is rather overtly unsustainable.

      Personally, it needs less fluorescent lighting and more puppies and kittens.

    2. Among the many questions :are most legal entrants? are they awaiting asylum determination? Escaping socialism is inself no justification for asylum. A regime suppressing human rights, locking up the political opposition etc would be grounds. Government control of production, health care etc is not grounds for asylum.

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  3. At least these Venezuelans are just shopping at the storage units. In Phoenix AZ, lots of Americans live in the storage units. Which might be almost half as bad as living in Venezuela. But not really. The panhandling business in Phoenix is thriving.

  4. Looks like Florida is getting the Venezuelan cream of the crop , like the Cubans who came there. These people will be opening their own businesses in a few years.

    1. Cubans came here in the sixties. America was still booming, it was easy to start a business. Now that the wall street oligarchs have sent all manufacturing to communist china, starting a business is not as easy as it used to be, unless it is subsidized by the state, like all those craft beer brewers that are popping up all over NY state.
      You don’t see people running away from European socialism. Most of those countries are socialist, free healthcare, free college and great retirement. Could it be the US is strangling Venezuela’s economy to make sure it dies. It is like calling someone a looser while making sure he looses the race by sticking your foot out and tripping him before he gets to the finish line.

      1. “You don’t see people running away from European socialism. Most of those countries are socialist, free healthcare, free college and great retirement. Could it be the US is strangling Venezuela’s economy to make sure it dies. It is like calling someone a looser while making sure he looses the race by sticking your foot out and tripping him before he gets to the finish line.”

        Sarc or stupidity. Or both.

      2. The outsourcing and the heavy immigration of immigrants competing for manufacturing and similar jobs together with the rising cost of housing and medical services have made workers over a period of decades worse off. The improved labor market conditions in the last several years are helping – but blue collar workers are worse off than several decades back.

        1. Most manufacturing jobs have been lost to technological improvements, just like farming. And speaking of farming, without immigrants good luck getting anyone to pick tomatoes in 95 degree heat.

        2. Labor markets obey the laws of supply and demand. When lots of labors are added to particular segments of the labor market, other workers who compete in those segments suffer unemployment and or the receipt of lower wages.

  5. Venezuela might not ever recover from its emigration crisis. A lot of those people were educated or had skills needed to keep things running. There are many more who would like to leave if they could.

    It is a major reason why things are falling apart.

    One of the things that helps immigrants to quickly recover and become productive is a strong local community. Nice that this woman is helping out.

  6. Why can Venezuelans come to the US while Mexicans (Chinese, Austrians) can’t?

    1. Because Venezuela produces more Miss Universe winners than any other country.

  7. They might want to go back to Venezuela after Bernie Sanders is elected.

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  9. Unfortunately they’re coming here and voting for socialists. Why would you flee socialism and then vote for socialism?

    1. Because the idea that they are fleeing “socialism” is hogwash. They are fleeing poverty and a corrupt government. Socialism has nothing to do with it.

      1. Aha fifth columnists then. They secretly want to reproduce the very conditions that caused the poverty and corrupt government.

    2. Lol they can’t vote for anyone. These are refugees.

    3. Ha ha. Venezuelans who suffered under the Chavez Maduro regimes HATE socialism. If these Venezuelan refugees become citizens they’ll vote against socialism. Quit making things up like an idiot.

  10. Refugees.. are actually the socialist… Albagora

  11. What’s wrong with this woman? Doesn’t she know that she’s usurping a function of government, and denying politicians a source of graft?

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  15. They fled socialism to wait for handouts at a storage facility. What a heartwarming story! Only in capitalist America can a poor immigrant be gifted the property of other poor people who couldn’t pay their storage bills.

  16. Excellent read! Thanks for posting the video as well.

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