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11 countries will welcome Venezuelans with expired documents

On September, 13 Latin American countries met in Quito with the aim of finding a way to guarantee the protection of Venezuelans human rights

11 countries will welcome Venezuelans with expired documents

On September 3 and 4, the "Regional Meeting on Human Mobility of Venezuelan Citizens in the Americas" was held in Quito, which was inaugurated by the acting Ecuadorian Chancellor, Andrés Terán, who replaces Chancellor José Valencia, who is accompanying President Lenin Moreno on his official visit to Japan.

Leer en español: ¡Bienvenidos! 11 países acogerán venezolanos con documentos vencidos

At this meeting, representatives of 13 Latin American countries met with the purpose of exchanging information, criteria, knowledge, and experiences, to find a way to articulate regionally and try to harmonize responses regarding the historically unusual and considerable increase in the flow of Venezuelans in the region.

At the end of the meeting, the countries made public the Declaration of Quito, a document in which they expressed their intentions to promote the "opening of a humanitarian assistance mechanism that allows decompression of the critical situation, providing immediate attention at source to affected citizens." In addition, they ratified the commitment of the States of the region to provide Venezuelan citizens in a situation of human mobility, access to justice systems, health services and public education and finally to opportunities in the labor market.

For the chancellor, there are many Venezuelans who for various reasons have not regularized their immigration status and are highly vulnerable to human trafficking, illegal trafficking, labor exploitation or commit international crimes such as irregular or clandestine migration.

According to figures from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), approximately 2.5 million Venezuelans have left the country in the last four years and it has increased considerably during this last year.

The representative of the Organization of the United Nations in Ecuador, Arnaud Peral, applauded the call of the government of Ecuador and expressed his hope that the countries find the appropriate ways to guarantee the protection of the human rights of this migratory wave, and that they achieve develop "specific protection routes for children", while reaching agreements to fight against discrimination and xenophobia.

For the representative, today it is the Venezuelans who face this crisis, but tomorrow it could be the citizens of another Latin American country, that is why regional support is important.

The declaration was signed by representatives of the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. It should be noted that the invitation was not well received by the Venezuelan government, which did not attend or send any kind of justification for its absence.

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The role of the Venezuelan government

Despite the figures of organizations dedicated to the study of migration in the region, during the last few days the Venezuelan government has forcefully and repeatedly denied that there is a Venezuelan exodus. Before the Declaration of Quito, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, according to the executive vice president, Delcy Rodriguez, will send a diplomatic note in which a formal protest will be presented before this meeting, since in its opinion, it promotes "the campaigns of xenophobia against Venezuelans abroad and undermines the dignity of Venezuelans."

Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Constituent Assembly that replaces Parliament at the end of the government, also strongly rejected the declaration, while questioning the morals of these countries, mainly Brazil and Colombia, to refer to the affairs of the Bolivarian country.

"That statement of that group is disgusting and embarrassing, they are going to reverse (...) They want to kill the Unasur, the Alba and reborn the CAN," said Cabello from the Federal Legislative Palace in Caracas, where a special session of the legislative body in support of the Plan Vuelta a la Patria promoted by President Nicolás Maduro was held.

The Plan Vuelta a la Patria approved on September 4 by constitutional decree of the National Constituent Assembly, which according to the Constitution of the Republic has no power in this matter, aims to support Venezuelans who emigrated and have the desire to return to Venezuela.

During the session in which said plan was approved, the president of the ANC, Diosdado Cabello, reported that "the Bolivarian Revolution reaches out to Venezuelans who left for other nations and today they decide to return." Also, the deputy of the ANC, Angelo Rivas, said that "the creation of this plan is part of a counter-offensive to dismantle the opinion matrix of a supposed humanitarian crisis due to the migration of Venezuelans to justify a foreign intervention."

"There is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and I denounce that the U.S. has promoted this opinion matrix, with Colombia being among the first countries to echo this," said the constituent.

On the other hand, the National Assembly, unanimously, issued an agreement on August 29 declaring that "the overdue passports" of Venezuelans must be considered extended until a lapse of five years from the issuance of the agreement.

This decision was made considering the millions of Venezuelans who have left the country during the last few years, who "do not receive an appropriate, effective and efficient response from the consular authorities in the countries in which they have settled", especially in terms of passport issuance, which puts at risk the legal status of Venezuelans abroad.

LatinAmerican Post | Camila González C.

Translated from "¡Bienvenidos! 11 países acogerán venezolanos con documentos vencidos"