"These numbers are large, it is one of the biggest migration crises we have experienced": United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
"As a result of the complex political and socio-economic developments in Venezuela, a country that has traditionally been host to thousands of refugees, the number of people compelled to leave their homes continues to increase. The movements are taking place for a variety of reasons, including insecurity and violence, lack of food, medicine or access to essential social services as well as loss of income."
Leer en español: Estas son las cifras que deja el éxodo venezolano
This is stated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in relation to the growing wave of mass migrations of Venezuelans to Latin America and the world. According to the United Nations, more than 2.3 million Venezuelans live abroad. Throughout the world, Venezuelan migration grew by almost 110% between 2015 and 2017, from 700,000 people to 1 million and a half. "These numbers are great, it is one of the biggest migration crises we have experienced," the UNHCR added.
The political factors, the socio-economic needs, the search for job opportunities or the situation of insecurity and violence along with the uncertainty caused as a result of the economic package announced by President Nicolás Maduro on national television, accelerate the already resounding number of Venezuelans fleeing to the streets of Latin America.
According to UNHCR figures, some 5,000 Venezuelans leave their country every day. Between 2,700 and 3,000 cross daily from Colombia to Ecuador. In addition, Colombia has reached a figure of more than 870,000 Venezuelans. The government gave to 442,000 of them a temporary humanitarian permit that allowed them to work, access health and public education, suggested El Espectador.
In Brazil, the history also repeats itself. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, the number of refugee claims filed increased from 17,865 to 35,540, reported the UNHCR. The United States also has a share of the migratory phenomenon, since 170,169 Venezuelans applied for political asylum in April, most of them in the North American country, explained the UNHCR.
According to the report on Migration Trends in the Americas conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for April of this year, between 2015 and 2017, more than 400 thousand residence permits, temporary and permanent, have been granted in South America, to people of Venezuelan nationality through ordinary and extraordinary immigration regulatory tools.
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The Venezuelan migrant population has benefited from the adoption of specific legislation in the following countries of the region, reported the IOM:
- Chile granted more than 120 thousand residence permits between permanent stays and temporary visas
- Panama "has been one of the main destinations for Venezuelans in recent years", doubling the number of approval permits granted between 2015 and 2017 in relation to citizens of Colombian nationality
- The Dominican Republic represents the surprising figure of 653%, according to the National Statistics Office
As a result of the alarming increase in the figures of migratory movements coming from Venezuela to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, the countries have been forced to take measures to try to restrain this flow in their territory. In Ecuador, for example, "a judge in Quito accepted the request for precautionary measures made by different institutions, against the requirement of the State to ask for a passport to Venezuelans," reported El Universo.
However, the measure was considered an act of xenophobia, although it was a migration decision of Ecuador to reduce the entry of migrants from the oil country. Peru, for its part, although it made its migratory measures more flexible, not requiring a passport for the elderly and children who go with pregnant women, demands it for the rest of the Venezuelan population, according to El Comercio.
The IOM contributed 32 million dollars for the aid plan that will support 17 countries of the continent to face the Venezuelan exodus.
LatinAmerican Post | Pilar Matos
Translated from "Latinoamérica: Estas son las cifras que deja el éxodo venezolano"