The Venezuelan exodus continues to increase and this year could outnumber the refugees who left Syria due to a civil war

Venezuelan migrants cross in boats from La Victoria, in Venezuela, to Arauquita, in Colombia (Photo: EFE)

The Organization of American States (OAS) warned this Thursday that Venezuelan migration can reach 7 million people by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, surpassing the exodus from Syria, considered the largest in the world, with 6.7 million refugees who have left that country.

According to a report released by the OAS Working Group for the Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees Crisis, “If there is no political, economic and social solution in the short term, it is estimated that there could be more Venezuelan refugees than Syrians.”

More than 5.6 million people 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.

Several people who go to make cash withdrawals at ATMs in Caracas.  The shortage of cash in Venezuela, caused by high inflation, has caused the country's banks to close offices and reduce the number of ATMs, so citizens must make long lines daily or make longer trips to find bolivars. (Photo: EFE)
Several people who go to make cash withdrawals at ATMs in Caracas. The shortage of cash in Venezuela, caused by high inflation, has caused the country’s banks to close offices and reduce the number of ATMs, so citizens must make long lines daily or make longer trips to find bolivars. (Photo: EFE)

The document details that, despite the mobility restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, “The number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees continues to grow.”

Before the pandemic, 5,000 Venezuelans fled their country daily, but the impact of COVID-19 forced more than 140,000 to return to their places of origin.

However, the report alerts, from September 2020 to the present, between 700 and 900 Venezuelans “flee daily through irregular routes: trails or dangerous maritime routes.”

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”At the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, the number of Venezuelan refugees could reach 7 million ”, point the document.

Venezuelan migrants (Photo: Europa Press)
Venezuelan migrants (Photo: Europa Press)

According to the research, Venezuelans flee daily for five fundamental reasons: complex humanitarian emergency, human rights violations, widespread violence, collapse of public services and economic collapse.

In Venezuela, “9.3 million people, a third of the population, are moderately or severely food insecure and in need of assistance”the report states, citing data from the UN World Food Program.

In addition, he accounted for more than 18,000 extrajudicial executions carried out by state security forces or groups related to the government since 2014, according to OAS investigations.

By countries, Colombia is the main destination for these migrants, with more than 1.7 million people in its territory, followed by Peru (1.050.000), United States (465.000), Chile (457,000) and Ecuador (431.000).

In the image, the opponent David Smolansky, appointed by Guaidó as his representative before the Organization of American States (Photo: EFE)
In the image, the opponent David Smolansky, appointed by Guaidó as his representative before the Organization of American States (Photo: EFE)

Other countries with significant Venezuelan migration are Brazil (262.000), Argentina (180.000), Panama (121.000), Mexico (102,000) and Dominican Republic (114.500), Trinidad and Tobago (40.000), Costa Rica (30,000) and Guyana (36.000).

The coordinator of that working group, also a Venezuelan David Smolansky, said in a statement that this “is the largest exile crisis in the history of the region.”, and assured that today there are more than 5.6 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees. That number equates to more than 18% of the Venezuelan population, the report narrowed.

The 7 million migrants and refugees could be reached “Of reopening the borders and deepening the crisis in the South American country,” the statement said.

Illustrative file photo of Venezuelan migrants in a temporary camp in Arauquita, Colombia (Photo: Reuters)
Illustrative file photo of Venezuelan migrants in a temporary camp in Arauquita, Colombia (Photo: Reuters)

Venezuela, Once an oil power, it is mired in an economic and social debacle that has worsened since the arrival to power in 2013 of President Nicolás Maduro, whose legitimacy the OAS does not know, considering his re-election in 2018 flawed.

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“The only solution for stopping this human landslide is the restoration of democracy and freedoms in Venezuela “, Sostuvo Smolansky.

(With information from EFE and AFP)

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