Venezuela has lost more than 13% of its population in the wake of the mass wave of migration caused by the so-called “socialism of the 21st century”, which has had dramatic effect on the other countries of the region due to the serious humanitarian crisis.
Official figures from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) indicate that between 2015 and 2017, Venezuelan emigration more than doubled, increasing from 700,000 people to 1.5 million.
But the truth is that there are thousands of Venezuelans with dual citizenship who have left Venezuela; just as there are many more that arrive as tourists to their new destinations, and remain there. The incalculable migratory flow began with mass arrivals to neighboring Brazil and Colombia, but has now spread across the region.
According to the pollster ‘Consultores 21′, 40% of the population of Venezuela wants to emigrate; and according to estimates made by the sociologist Tomás Páez, by the middle of 2018, 15% of the Venezuelan population will have left the country, hoping to be able to return one day.
In Venezuela the streets are empty. As the months pass, there are fewer cars on the streets, and fewer people on the sidewalks. The emigration of Venezuelans is truly remarkable in the sense that the situation was once reversed: in just one decade Venezuela received 11 million foreigners fleeing the crisis in their own home countries. Those days are long gone.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), up to June 2018, estimated that the exodus of people who have left Venezuela is about 2.3 million, the vast majority of whom have moved to other regions of Latin America .
According to specialists’ estimates, the migration of Venezuelans will continue to grow, even though the situation in Venezuela may change. They also assure that “the most probable scenario” is that the flow of Venezuelans to other countries does not diminish in the short term.
According to an investigation by The Economist, the total number of displaced Venezuelans may already have reached 4 million, out of a population of about 30 million, which represents 13% of the population of Venezuela.
The majority of Venezuelans have emigrated to Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay. Many of the Venezuelans who enter Colombia do so via the border city of Cúcuta, in the Norte de Santander state; in Brazil via the state of Roraima; in Ecuador via the International Bridge of Rumichaca; in Peru in Tumbes; and in Chile by Tacna. The majority do so by land crossings.
In view of this situation, the IOM warned that “the migratory crisis in Venezuela is so serious that it already could equal the refugee levels crossing the Mediterranean, which in 2015 became a critical humanitarian situation and was exacerbated by the increase in the uncontrolled flow of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants in vulnerable conditions. This situation still persists.”
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), “the exodus of Venezuelans is already one of the largest mass population movements in the history of Latin America.”
The conditions are getting worse, not only because of the impossibility of accessing dollars in consideration of the iron-fisted control the regime maintains over currency exchange, but also with regard to the thousands of Venezuelans who are currently waiting for up to two years to obtain their passports; a situation that has forced them to emigrate illegally and reach the destination countries in precarious conditions.
In an interview with the PanAm Post on the subject of Venezuelan emigration, sociologist Tomás Páez, coordinator of the Global Project of the Venezuelan Diaspora, argued that “the main cause of Venezuelan emigration is the socialism of the 21st century.”
Paez explained that Venezuelan migration has repeated the same pattern of all Latin American migration, noting that the destination countries are those offering greater freedom and development, which are those in the north, such as the United States, Canada and countries of the European Union.
However, in recent years, due to the economic failure of Venezuela, which has impoverished 87% of the population, it has become impossible to buy air tickets out of the country, so now the migrants decide to go by land and even by sea.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, congratulated the Latin American countries that signed the Declaration of Quito, but asked for more “regional coherence” in their response to the Venezuelan exodus.
The history of humanity has made it clear that people do not flee democracies; on the contrary, they flee from the most cruel dictatorships when they feel that the situation will not change: it will get worse and it has no solution. This is precisely what is happening in Venezuela.
With the arrival of Hugo Chávez and the establishment of 21st century socialism, he precipitated the largest emigration in the history of the South American country, a situation that worsened with the arrival of Maduro, to the point of becoming a diaspora comparable to what has happened in countries like Syria in the midst of civil wars.