No Way to Receive More Venezuelans: Host Countries Run Out of Money

From the UN budget, only 70 USD has been allocated per migrant.

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“For now, around 150 million USD has been raised, which is 21% of the target set for the region to cope with the Venezuelan exodus”. (UNHCR)

Spanish – The countries receiving the Venezuelan migrants are desperate due to the scarcity of resources and the lack of financial aid from the international community. So far, only 30% of all the money needed to meet the needs of the more than four million Venezuelans who have fled the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has been raised.

Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, along with United Nations Special Envoy Eduardo Stein, held a press conference to ask the international community to show even greater solidarity with the countries receiving Venezuelan migrants. Although the migratory crisis is comparable to that of Syria, the region does not receive enough financial aid to face the massive exodus.

On 6th August, during the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela, Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio was also outspoken in criticizing the lack of international solidarity. He sternly pointed out the need for immediate international cooperation to address the crisis.

“So far, about 150 million USD has been raised. It represents 21% of the target set so that the region can face the Venezuelan exodus,” Popolizio said and stressed that this contrasts widely with the support received to address similar situations in other parts of the world.

The Venezuelan migration crisis is severe, and the receiving countries have come to a standstill. The Colombian government says that they have received only 30% of the budget agreed with the United Nations to face the Venezuelan crisis in 2019: Colombia has received only 70 USD per migrants. There are more than 1.4 million Venezuelans in Colombia, and the number will continue to rise.

Olga Sarrado, the UNHCR spokesperson for the situation in Venezuela, told PanAm Post that “if the necessary funds do not arrive on time, we will be unable to undertake the activities planned to meet the basic needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region, increasing their vulnerability.” Additionally, she affirmed that-

It is important to recognize the solidarity and efforts of host countries to respond to the needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, but they need the support of the international community to continue these efforts.

In the Coordination Platform for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, UNHCR specifies that 737,611,378 USD is necessary to cover the minimum requirements of refugees and that so far only 30% has been met.

For the moment, the countries that have made contributions to alleviate the Venezuelan migratory crisis are The United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The resources have been allocated to more than 90 international organizations, and according to UNHCR, they were invested in emergency assistance, protection, socio-cultural integration, education, etc.

Venezuelan citizens have become one of the largest groups of displaced populations in the world, following the acceleration of the mass exodus since 2016.

In just seven months since November 2018, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants increased by one million, according to data from different host nations and NGOs working in close collaboration with the United Nations.

The total number of displaced Venezuelans has already surpassed 4 million, out of a population of some 30 million, representing 13 % of the people of Venezuela.

While recipient countries are asking for economic aid, UNICEF also issued an emergency appeal calling for 70 million USD to provide the essential assistance for the survival of 900,000 children in different parts of Venezuela.

An “avalanche” of Venezuelans

On 14th August, UNHCR warned that if the situation in Venezuela does not change, the flow of Venezuelan migrants “will continue” without anything stopping it. The number of expatriates could exceed six million.

Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner of UNHCR, warned about the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela that has forced thousands of citizens to leave their country with each passing day. The situation will further affect the countries of the region and could lead to the deterioration of the host countries.

The situation may get worse. Chavismo and the opposition continue in a dialogue that does not show results or progress as the days go by. Meanwhile, thousands of Venezuelans decide to risk their lives, leave the territory, and face precarious conditions of uncontrolled migration.

“I am not very optimistic” about the future of Venezuela’s immigration crisis, Grandi said. “This flow will continue if there is no political solution in Venezuela that allows these people to return to their country,” he added.

The head of the UNHCR stated that the flow of Venezuelan migrants in the region is “the most substantial” in the world in decades and estimated the number of Venezuelan citizens who emigrated in recent years at more than four million.

Venezuelan migration is one of the reasons why the rejection of Maduro’s government has escalated in Latin America and the Caribbean since it is a massive movement that has no historical precedent in the region.  The migration is continuous and does not happen in waves, as was the case of other migratory flows in the region.

In Colombia alone, the cost of assisting migrants is estimated at 0.3 % of gross domestic product (GDP), putting pressure on the infrastructure of public services, health systems, and education.

Tomas Paez, the coordinator of the Venezuelan Diaspora Observatory, told PanAm Post that a global strategy is needed to “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.”

According to Paez, the only effective way to stop the Venezuelan immigration crisis is for socialism to cease and for humanitarian conditions to change.`

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