Electronic Nomads: The Life of a Venezuelan Freelancer by Caracas Chronicles

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

The competition of Venezuelan freelancers in job webpages was fairly significant because we’re cheap labor within the digital community, but after the blackout many companies and employees have decided not to hire Venezuelan workers.

The testimonies are shocking: people who patrol their cities in search for places to connect their phones and laptops, small makeshift coworking spaces in coffee shops, restaurants or hotels with power plants, carrying all sorts of plugs to connect and work wherever there’s electricity, improvised UPSs with car batteries to power up desktop computers and nightly pilgrimages to phone centrals so they can send their work to their clients. Organized electric nomads carrying their equipment -at great risk, remember that Venezuela’s one of the most dangerous countries in the world and you can get killed for your phone-, working against the clock and under pressure, not knowing when they’ll be left in the dark again.

“During the blackout, I organized a camp in my home because I have enough water and gas for several days. I housed two families with almost ten people each and preserved their food and medicines in my fridge. I solved the electricity problem by using an energy converter for vehicles. I’m a content creator, I handle technology accounts. I get internet by connecting my computer to my phone’s hotspot so I could finish my work,” said Beatriz Rondón, from Sebucan, Caracas.

Some freelancers have chosen to work offline because they can organize without needing an internet connection, at least while their laptops’ batteries last, and they use any open signal to send them over. Others depend on their jobs to support their families and small children -who can’t go to school as per regime decree-, they can’t go anywhere to work outside their homes. Freelancers in cities near the borders -the worst affected have suffered over 100-hour blackouts- have quickly migrated as digital refugees to Colombia in order to keep working.

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