>> Smugglers sneak through the bushes with a group of Venezuelan migrants. They step across rocks, cross a muddy river, and finally they enter Colombia. This is how Venezuela's poor flee the country, the latest in an exodus that has seen almost 2 million leave since 2015. In recent weeks, Reuters interviewed dozens of migrants as they made their way across the countries porous western border toward Columbia and beyond.
Defying harsh geography, criminal traffickers, and increasingly restrictive immigration laws to try their luck just about anywhere. Reuters correspondent Alexander Ulmer has seen the migrants arrive in Bucaramanga.>> The Venezuelans arrived here exhausted. Their shoes are torn, their bags are falling apart, and they are so tired after days of walking through the Columbian Andes, and sleeping by the side of the road.
Columbians here often bring them food or give toys to the children.>>
> According to the UN, 90% of Venezuela's who were fleeing remain in South American putting pressure on neighbors like Columbia and Peru where police are now conducting raids to detain the undocumented.
But many are toughening rules requiring a passport, a crucial document, that's often elusive in Venezuela, because of paper shortages and a dysfunctional bureaucracy. Putting migrants like 30 year old Dario Leal, a baker from the remote coastal Venezuelan state of Sucre, on an illegal path, and at the mercy of smugglers.