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The commitment of the Latin American countries to the Venezuelan situation has included generating opportunities and the efforts of the international community
Leer en español: ¿Qué están haciendo los países en la crisis de Venezuela?
4 million is not an easy number to handle, even more so if we take into account that not all those who have left Venezuela are living under all the legal terms in the countries they have reached. Due to this, countries like Peru and Colombia, which are the ones who receive the most Venezuelan immigrants, have had to adapt their policies to them so that the exodus does not affect their economies or the daily life of their citizens. Likewise, the countries of the region have had to unite to seek humanitarian solutions, beyond the political decisions that are made in the face of relations with Venezuela.
According to the Director of Social Inclusion of the OAS, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, in an interview with CNN, the main reason why Venezuelans migrate to the region is because of the geographic proximity, especially towards Colombia, because on the border there are multiple passages and most have entered the country after walking for days.
It may interest you: What has happened with the Venezuelan exodus?
La cifra de refugiados y migrantes de #Venezuela llega a los cuatro millones.— Acnur/Unhcr Américas (@ACNURamericas) June 7, 2019
A nivel mundial, los venezolanos son ya uno de los grupos de población más grandes desplazados de su país. pic.twitter.com/7GQ2l5VRaK
Another reason is the cultural closeness. Historically, both countries have been rooted in the other and that is reflected in the way of life and even in traditional food. However, in other cases, such as Peru, hundreds of thousands have come in search of job opportunities that allow them to send money to family members who still remain in Venezuela. This, since currently the economic situation of Peru is stable, which has allowed their legalization.
As for Colombia, UNHCR has served as support locating centers in the main cities to which Venezuelans arrive, which are the border ones. These centers have been able to serve more than 400,000 Venezuelans who still have their irregular migration status. Likewise, at the end of 2018, the government published the Conpes for Attention to Migration. The document "seeks to establish and implement care strategies in health, education, early childhood, childhood and adolescence, work, housing, security, and coexistence, " said Gloria Alonso, director of the National Development Department.
Despite the existence of this document, the lack of legalization of their immigration status has been an impediment to developing effective plans. According to Proyecto Migración Venezuela of Semana Magazine, "4 out of 10 Venezuelans in Colombia are minors. The absence of valid documents could create barriers in access to basic services such as health and education."
Not to mention, moreover, that the streets of Colombia are full of Venezuelans asking for money at traffic lights or looking for sweets or small products to sell, many of which are children and that, probably, health and education are not the only basic needs to which they do not have access. In addition to this, continuous migration has become the main challenge for the current Colombian economy, with employment being the main affected, not to mention that the problem of employability has meant that many Venezuelans who manage to get a job receive less money for doing the same thing as an equally qualified Colombian.
Jair Bolsonaro, at the head of Brazil, has been one of the toughest in the treatment of migration, so today they have reached the figure of less than 170,000, much less than most countries in the region, considering that the largest border is with them.
In 2018, before Bolsonaro came to the presidency of Brazil, the government had already started a plan called Operation Reception, which brought together several ministries and government organizations to act in the face of the humanitarian crisis. Within the framework of this plan, transit homes, health care centers, among others, were created to serve Venezuelans who, for the most part, arrive in Brazil only as a step towards other countries.
In the massive exodus that was presented in the first months from Venezuela, Brazil was the strictest in terms of allowing passage and permanence. Despite the sites arranged since the previous year, Venezuelans who managed to cross and stay in Brazil reported receiving comments and xenophobic treatment. On repeated occasions, homes where Venezuelans spent a few days have been attacked and people have had to leave.
Without a doubt, the humanitarian crisis has not only affected the Venezuelans, but also the neighboring countries have had to accommodate themselves so as not to affect their citizens and, at the same time, to be able to help. For this, the countries of the region have had to unite to gather efforts, both diplomatic and political as well as humanitarian. Such is the case of the Lima Group, which, under the special support of Colombian Chancellor Carlos Holmes Trujillo, has met several times to try to create contingency plans to restore democracy in Venezuela and that the situation can be normalized.
However, even if the Venezuelan situation were resolved today, the plans to deal with the crisis must be immediate, because the humanitarian crisis is happening right now and any solution would delay in normalizing the situation of the Latin American country. For this reason, Holmes Trujillo, for example, met with the Norwegian Foreign Minister, which affirmed the interest of the international community to support the governments of Latin America in this matter.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suarez
Translated from "¿Qué están haciendo los países en la crisis de Venezuela?"