SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Luis Baena shares a room with 127 other men.
During the day he looks for work or sings on the streets of downtown Sao Paulo for a few reals. When he sits down for a meal, he feels pangs of guilt, wondering whether his wife and children back in Venezuela even have food on the table. The last time he spoke with them, they were making do with cachapas, a corn pancake with beans, and eating once, maybe twice, a day.
His search for work took him first to Praca das Aguas, a public square in the city of Boa Vista in northern Brazil, where he slept outdoors. When he heard there were jobs in Sao Paulo, he accepted the government’s offer to be relocated to the mega-city and in early April landed at the municipal shelter in Sao Mateus, a neighborhood east of Sao Paulo.
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By Jill Langlois
Photos by Gui Christ for the Los Angeles Times
Originally published in the Los Angeles Times on May 24, 2018.