More than 6.8 million people have left Venezuela since 2014 and immigration grows | Migration News

More than 6.8 million people have left Venezuela since 2014 and immigration grows |  Migration News
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About 6.8 million Venezuelans have fled their homeland since 2014 when the country of nearly 28 million suffered a severe economic crisis. Most went to nearby countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 2.4 million are in Colombia.

This massive migration slowed as the pandemic cut economic opportunities and complicated travel across the region, and as Venezuela’s socialist government adopted reforms that slowed the country’s economic freefall and gave some appearance of recovery.

According to United Nations estimates, around 150,000 Venezuelans returned to their homeland at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, with some host countries reporting a decline in the total number of Venezuelan immigrants for the first time in years.

But the outward march is on the rise again.

At least 753,000 Venezuelans have left their country for another Latin America or Caribbean since November, even as President Nicolas Maduro’s government continues to announce economic growth, according to data from countries that have accepted it. Colombia, which has not reported updated figures since November, saw a jump of nearly 635,000 between that month and August.

Pandemic quarantines and border closures have also pushed Venezuelans down riskier paths. Mexico recently introduced a visa requirement for Venezuelans, so instead of flying to a country bordering the United States, Venezuelan immigrants now often travel north through Central America after crossing Central America. Darien Gapa pathless jungle stretching along the Colombia-Panama border, where thieves, swollen rivers, rough terrain, and wild animals are common.

This is how Venezuelans have entered its territory so far this year, up from just 3,000 last year, the Panamanian government said.

The lack of diplomatic ties between the United States and Venezuela meant that the United States could not deport Venezuelans. and the rule of the pandemic period On the US-Mexico border. The US allowed some Venezuelans to apply for asylum, and in July the administration of US President Joe Biden was extended. Temporary Protection Status It protects 343,000 people from deportation for an additional 18 months for Venezuelans in the US since March 8, 2021.

Still, the future of Venezuelan refugees in the US under pressure From Republican officials who are capturing increasing numbers of immigrants arriving at the border to attack Biden’s immigration and border security policies.

Arbelys Briceno was on the eighth day of her journey from her hometown in Venezuela to Peru, which the 14-year-old couldn’t put on the map but which her brother had set as her destination. Mosquitoes had marked their legs. The sun had reddened his face.

“It’s like a vacation, but there’s plenty of walking,” said Arbelys, much more optimistically than most Venezuelan immigrants trying to escape poverty in their once prosperous country.

When Arbelys, her sister and brother arrived in Colombia, they had walked some 600 kilometers (370 miles). He couldn’t sleep one night – they were stuck on the pavement and he was startled by the sounds. While walking down a muddy back road to cross the border, he slipped and fell twice.

Her brother knew that on the second trip, he shouldn’t let the harsh sun make his skin brittle, and he covered his face with sunscreen, which was forming lines on his forehead.

Data compiled by the Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants, which includes nearly 200 humanitarian organizations, shows governments have registered the arrival of 753,000 Venezuelan migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries since November.

The platform’s data also shows that the overall population of such Venezuelans in these countries has dropped slightly from 4,620,185 in January to 4,598,355 in July for some time last year.

The platform’s figures do not include all immigrants, as some countries do not count those found illegally and do not include figures for other countries such as the United States.

Immigrants, mostly from Central America and Venezuela, are walking along the Huehuetan highway in the Mexican state of Chiapas, hoping to reach the United States. [File: Marco Ugarte/AP]

Outside the soup kitchen in Los Patios, about 7.5 km (4.5 miles) inside Colombia, people quickly cram around an outside table when the chain-link fence gate opens.

Some had learned from friends or other immigrants about the operation, where their cooks prepared 40 gallons (151 liters) of soup for each meal at two locations.

Jhon Alvarez, coordinator of Fundacion Nueva Ilusion – roughly in English, New Hope Foundation – said he’s seeing more and more familiar faces at the soup kitchen.

“People go back to Venezuela from other countries — Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia — but after 15 days or a month they just can’t stand it and come back,” Alvarez said.

He said, ‘Look, I had to go back because the situation is still the same’. [or] better. They raised the minimum wage, yes they did, but there is no job,” he said.

According to the Venezuelan office of the United Nations High Representative, 48 percent of migrants surveyed by a network of aid organizations cite lack of employment and low salaries as the main reason for leaving Venezuela, while 40 percent cited difficulties in accessing food and basic services. Commissioner for Refugees.

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