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Impact of Migration on Venezuela

Jose Domingo Blanco, a journalist from Caracas, Venezuela, described the current situation of the country and how the government has allowed the crisis to grow in one of his articles:

And part of the regime’s success is its hunger policy which has been at the same time, its most socialist practice. Hunger and poverty installed in Venezuelan homes, in the misery that the anti-government has distributed equitably between the entire population. It is this collective indigence that is decreed by each salary raise. A beggary that increases with each CLAP box that the government gives away, making of hunger its best control tool.[1]

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Venezuela was once the richest nation amongst its Latin American neighbors and despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has collapsed into complete poverty with the highest inflation rate worldwide reaching 1.000.000% by the end of this year due to economic mismanagement. Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, it is governed by an unjust dictatorial and authoritarian communist regime, and its oil production has noticeably dropped, which has led to uncountable salary raises and hyperinflation: “Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA is contractually obligated to supply 1,495 million barrels per day to those customers in June, but only has 694,000 barrels per day available for export.”[2]

This gloomy and scary scenario has left Venezuelans with insufficient income to survive and buy the basic needs every human being needs in order to have a normal life. Nicolas Maduro (the President of Venezuela) and his allies have kidnapped the nation and their corruption and burglary have led to scarcity, extreme poverty, infant malnutrition, hunger, crime, and suffering. Therefore, Venezuelans flee; they must choose between their country or saving themselves, fear or freedom, danger or safety.

Millions of Venezuelans have left the country and even though the majority has migrated since 2017, Venezuelan political opponents who predicted the crisis have been leaving since 1999, when Chavez was first elected. However, not all immigrants have the fortune to choose their destination and how to leave. Hence, desperate Venezuelan refugees are risking their lives swimming to the closest islands, Curacao and Aruba, or crossing borders on foot for days and weeks to Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the list continues to grow.

It is not easy to identify a set of solutions for the current Venezuelan migration flow, since the country is drowning in misery. On one hand, 40 States, including the United States, Canada, and Spain, do not recognize last year’s Constituent Assembly’s fraud and some nations have sanctioned Venezuelan officials. In addition, Donald Trump has threatened Nicolas Maduro with military intervention.[3] Also, Maduro’s plan to fix the country’s hyperinflation is to raise the minimum salary wage, which causes more economic chaos. It is unlikely to predict hopeful forthcomings with the current regime in power and international action is improbable to occur.

On the other hand, it seems that more sanctions have been implemented to prevent Venezuelans from flooding neighboring countries. For instance, Panama requires a stamped visa, Brazil increases military security in the border, and Ecuador and Chile ask for passports before allowing passage through the border. Notwithstanding, whereas Lenin Moreno, the Ecuadorian President, says, “everything has a limit,” and declares state of emergency,[4] the new Colombian President, Ivan Duque, in a world of increasingly restricted borders and rejection towards refugees, tells Christiane Amanpour in an interview:

This is a dictatorship that has destructed all the economy, that has annihilated liberty, that has destroyed independent powers, and people are just running. So I decided that we are not going to close the border, we have to give them support.[5]

And such measures have been passed in Colombia; millions of Venezuelans have built a new home in this neighboring country, which was once in the 1800s the same territory (the Great Colombia), and the Venezuelan diaspora is allowed to live, work and study.

Moreover, the UN Refugee Agency estimated that the financial requirements for the Venezuelan exodus $46.1 million and only $25.5 million dollars have been funded, being the United States the biggest contributor with $13.9 million.[6] These results show that the international community has failed to meet the necessities of these refugees and since there will be more Venezuelans crossing the borders in the coming months, the United States and other States, according to Dan Restrepo, should address the crisis with more meaningful leadership by applying some of the following solutions:

Provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to all Venezuelans currently in the United States, Immediately meet the UNHCR’s identified funding needs, Provide recognized travel credentials to Venezuelans forced to flee without documents, Open a formal International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into regime figures responsible for crimes against humanity in Venezuela, and bring charges against them based on the recent referral by six countries in the Americas.[7]

On a different note, during 2017, countries around the world supported the opposition by covering Venezuela’s protests against the Constituent Assembly and the violence coming from the government’s military forces, especially the United States on CNN and BBC News. However, after the fraud of the election, there was little following and not much is being said about the migration crisis. Additionally, Venezuelan immigrants are working to contribute to the cause; they have either created their own business to donate food, medicines or money to Venezuela or partnered with pharmacies, such as Pharm-Aid. Beside these measures being taken, international organizations, like UNICEF and the United Nations have held meetings to discuss the Venezuelan crisis, including the Venezuelan migration, but no further actions have been taken.

Victims of poverty, scarcity, violence, hyperinflation, xenophobia, sanctions. Venezuelans have been victims of violence in Brazil and have exposed themselves to freezing temperatures in The Andes as they walk towards their new life, but some have died on their way. The Venezuelan diaspora is suffering and this country that once opened its doors to millions of immigrants now needs international aid. Nevertheless, the United States is in war with Syria and is unable to intervene in Venezuela. Due to the international community’s indifference, Maduro and his allies are benefitting from the people’s misery, the only equality they ever planned to achieve.

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All in all, the main cause of the Venezuelan migration crisis is the dictatorial and totalitarian regime that began with Hugo Chavez and it is currently in the hands of Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela is the reflection of socialism and how this type of philosophy implemented in the government can lead to the complete destruction of a beautiful country full of potential due to its oil resources and ideal geographic location. Politicians, sociologists and philosophers have come together to propose solutions to reconstruct and flourish Venezuela, but it all starts with a new government that cannot be overthrown by Venezuelans alone.


  • Baddour, D. (2018, August 20th). Ecuador shuts its border to Venezuelan refugees amid historic exodus. The Washington Post
  • Blanco, J. (2017, November 4th). Degradacion Colectivizada. El Nacional. Translation done by me.
  • Ivan Duque at an interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN.
  • Rapier, R. (2018. June 8th). Venezuela’s Oil Exports are Headed Toward Zero. Forbes.
  • Restrepo, D. (2018, October 16th). Venezuela in Crisis: A Way Forward. Center for American Progress.
  • U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, “Venezuela Situation Funding Update:” https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/65919
  • Watson, K. (2018, September 19th). Venezuela’s migration crisis: Is enough being done? BBC News.

[1] Blanco, J. (2017, November 4th). Degradacion Colectivizada. El Nacional. Translation done by me.

[2] Rapier, R. (2018. June 8th). Venezuela’s Oil Exports are Headed Toward Zero. Forbes.

[3] Watson, K. (2018, September 19th). Venezuela’s migration crisis: Is enough being done? BBC News.

[4] Baddour, D. (2018, August 20th). Ecuador shuts its border to Venezuelan refugees amid historic exodus. The Washington Post

[5] Ivan Duque at an interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN.

[6] U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, “Venezuela Situation Funding Update:” https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/65919

[7] Restrepo, D. (2018, October 16th). Venezuela in Crisis: A Way Forward. Center for American Progress.


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