Between 700 and 900 people flee daily Venezuela despite the closure of the borders of the South American country due to the covid-19 pandemic, according to data published by the Organization of American States (OAS).
The Venezuelan exodus through irregular routes decreased with the restrictions on mobility imposed to avoid contagions, but it was not interrupted, David Smolansky, who coordinates the OAS Working Group for the Crisis of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees in the Region, told AFP.
Before the start of the health emergency, in March 2020, some 5,000 people left Venezuela dailySaid Smolansky, a Venezuelan opponent at the head of this group created in 2018 by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to attend the departure of people from the South American country to the rest of the region.
It is now estimated that, since last September, some 700 to 900 Venezuelans have left the country every day along border trails, of which the majority go to Colombia, and to a much lesser extent, to Brazil.
“It is the largest exile crisis in the history of the region”Smolansky stated.
More than 5.6 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, according to the report, which collects figures from the Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), created within the UN in 2018.
The report identified five fundamental reasons for this mass exodus: a “complex humanitarian emergency”, “systematic violation of human rights”, “insecurity”, “collapse of basic services” and “high cost of living”.
In Venezuela, “9.3 million people, a third of the population, suffer moderate or severe food insecurity and need assistance, “he said, citing data from the UN World Food Program.
In addition, he realized more than 18,000 extrajudicial executions carried out by state security forces or groups related to the government since 2014, according to OAS investigations.
He also said that Venezuelans face street violence, generalized daily cuts in water and electricity services, and hyperinflation of 6,500%, according to the IMF.
Venezuela, once an oil power, is mired in an economic and social debacle It has been exacerbated since the arrival to power in 2013 of President Nicolás Maduro, whose legitimacy the OAS does not know because it considers his re-election in 2018 flawed.
“The only solution to stop this human landslide is the restoration of democracy and freedoms in Venezuela“, said Smolansky.
The arrival of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, who according to the report “they can walk up to 4,000 kilometers across the continent to reach another country and meet basic needs, “has strongly impacted its American neighbors.
Most are in Colombia, where it is estimated that there are about 1,743,000 Venezuelans, followed by Peru (1,050,000), the United States (465,000), Chile (457,000) and Ecuador (431,000).
Other countries with important Venezuelan migration They are Brazil (262,000), Argentina (180,000), Panama (121,000), Mexico (102,000) and the Dominican Republic (114,500), Trinidad and Tobago (40,000), Costa Rica (30,000) and Guyana (36,000).
“At the global level, only Syria, which has suffered a war for more than 10 years, surpasses Venezuela in the flow of migrants and refugees, “the report warned, although it said that international donations to address this crisis are ten times less than what was contributed to the Syrian crisis.
According to the report, international aid for Syrian refugees averages $ 5,000 per person, while for Venezuelans it is $ 480 per capita.