A new wave of Venezuelan emigration begins, as it is estimated that for this quarter, from July to September, around 500,000 Venezuelans will flee the country. There are already more than five million Venezuelans outside the country.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Venezuelans who have left their country because of the crisis has surpassed the four million mark. However, the sociologist Tomas Paez, coordinator of the Observatory of Venezuelan diaspora, informed the PanAm Post that according to studies, there are about five million Venezuelans outside the country. He confirmed that this figure will soon be surpassed and added that there are Venezuelans in 90 countries and 300 cities around the world.
“People were waiting for their children to finish the school year to make the decision. The situation in the country is that there is a human tragedy driving people to leave. Since Venezuelans are poorer today, they don’t have many ways of leaving except on foot, by bus, on in small boats,” the specialist said.
The migration is unstoppable. The border between Colombia and Venezuela is 2300 kilometers long. It is impossible to control this entire area and the flow of migrants leaving by sea, people leaving for Central America. People are going to keep leaving because they are trying to look for food and medicines.
According to projections by the Organization of American States General Secretariat Working Group on the Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees Crisis, some 500,000 Venezuelans will flee the country this quarter, and the figure will double, surpassing one million additional people by the end of 2019.
“According to the latest estimate at OAS, 500,000 Venezuelans will flee the country during this quarter (July-September) and close to 1 million by the end of 2019 (…) All this will happen if Maduro stays in power. The regime has generated the five determiners of forced migration: humanitarian crisis, widespread violence, violation of human rights, economic collapse, and failure in the provision of essential services,” said David Smolansky, coordinator of the Working Group.
The need for a global strategy
Tomas Paez pointed out to the PanAm Post the need to establish a comprehensive approach that “will coordinate efforts to prevent decisions in one country from influencing the others.”
“It is going to be necessary to create a joint strategy between countries, just as it is going to be necessary to continue exerting pressure so that things change in Venezuela, which is the only way to avoid the migratory phenomenon,” he said.
The specialist stressed that international organizations must take advantage of the positive impact of Venezuelan migration.
“Discussions in the OAS, or among the people of Migrations in Colombia, or what the business associations and chambers have been doing is taking advantage of the human resources that are arriving. There are countries like Peru, Chile or Argentina where the level of preparation of the human capital of Venezuelans is very high, and there is much entrepreneurial capacity to create wealth, generate consumption, set up businesses, and disseminate technology. We have to take advantage of the capacities,” he added.
“A pilot plan for entrepreneurship and integration of migration is being worked on in Colombia. It will be multiplied later with the support of the Andean Development Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, or technological companies such as Google or Microsoft to promote and take advantage of the immense capacity that is currently covering America. The best option is to take advantage of what is going to come, either way,” he said.
Snipping the problem at the root
With Venezuelan migration on the rise, the international community has decided to implement restrictions against those fleeing the Chavista dictatorship.
Nations have indeed opted to implement migratory measures. However, it is essential to recognize that they have made the entry of Venezuelans more flexible. Many of these countries now accept expired passports because it is difficult for Venezuelans to acquire the document in their country.
Nations are sovereign and have every right to make the decisions they consider to protect their population, yet they are only attacking the consequences (migration) of the dictatorship, a situation that will not solve the root of the problem. The way to avoid migration is to remove Nicolas Maduro (and Chavismo) from power.
According to Tomas Paez, the only effective way to stop the Venezuelan immigration crisis is to end socialism and change humanitarian conditions in Venezuela.