More than 6.8 million people have left Venezuela since 2014, and migration is on the rise Migration News

More than 6.8 million people have left Venezuela since 2014, and migration is on the rise Migration News
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An estimated 6.8 million Venezuelans have fled their homeland since the country’s 28 million people were hit by a severe economic crisis in 2014. Most went to neighboring countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 2.4 million are in Colombia.

That massive migration has slowed as the pandemic has cut economic opportunities and made travel difficult in the region, and as Venezuela’s socialist government has adopted reforms that have slowed the country’s economic freefall and given some semblance of a revival.

The United Nations estimates that about 150,000 Venezuelans returned home at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and some host countries reported a drop in the overall number of Venezuelan immigrants for the first time in years.

But the outward trend is on the rise again.

At least 753,000 Venezuelans have left Latin America or the Caribbean since November, according to data from host countries, despite President Nicolas Maduro’s government showing economic growth. Colombia, which hasn’t reported updated numbers since November, saw a jump of about 635,000 from that month to August.

Pandemic lockdowns and border closures have also pushed Venezuelans into riskier routes. Mexico recently imposed a visa requirement for Venezuelans, so instead of flying to a country bordering the United States, Venezuelan migrants now often travel north through Central America. Darien GapA trackless jungle frequented by thieves, swollen rivers, rough terrain and wild animals on the Colombia-Panama border.

The government of Panama said that last year only 3,000 Venezuelans entered its territory this year, this year 45,000.

The lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and Venezuela meant that the United States could not deport Venezuelans. rule of the pandemic period on the US-Mexico border. The US allowed some Venezuelans to apply for asylum, and in July US President Joe Biden’s administration extended the deadline. Temporary Protection Status Protects approximately 343,000 people from deportation for an additional 18 months for Venezuelans in the United States beginning March 8, 2021.

Still, the future of Venezuelan asylum seekers lies in the United States full of pressure Republican officials have seized on the numbers of migrants arriving at the border to attack Biden’s immigration and border security policies.

Arbelys Briceno was on the eighth day of his journey from his native Venezuela to Peru, a country the 14-year-old couldn’t place on a map but his older brother had identified as his destination. Mosquitoes marked his legs. The sun made his face red.

“It was like a vacation, but with a lot of walking,” Arbelys said, with a better outlook than most Venezuelan migrants trying to escape poverty in their once-prosperous country.

By the time Arbelys, his sister and brother arrived in Colombia, they had traveled nearly 600 kilometers (370 miles). He couldn’t sleep one night – they were stuck on the pavement and he was startled by the noises. They slipped and fell twice on a muddy back road to cross the border.

The second time his brother traveled, he knew better than to let the harsh sun shred his skin and slathered his face in sunscreen, which left streaks on his forehead.

Data compiled by the Interagency Coordination Platform on Refugees and Migrants, which includes nearly 200 humanitarian organizations, shows that 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 total population of Venezuelans in these countries fell slightly over the past year, from 4,620,185 in January to 4,598,355 in July.

The platform’s figures do not include all migrants, as some countries do not count illegal ones and do not include figures for other countries, such as the United States.

Migrants, mostly from Central America and Venezuela, travel along the Huehuetan Highway in Mexico’s Chiapas state, hoping to reach the United States. [File: Marco Ugarte/AP]

Outside a soup kitchen in Los Patios, about 7.5 km (4.5 miles) inside Colombia, people quickly crowd around a table outside as soon as the chain-link fence gate swings open.

Some learned about the operation from friends or other migrants, where the cooks prepare more than 40 gallons (151 liters) of soup per meal at two locations.

Jhon Alvarez, coordinator of Fundacion Nueva Ilusion – about New Hope Foundation in English, said he sees more and more familiar faces in the soup kitchen.

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

He said that they tell him: “Look, I had to go back because the situation is still the same [or] is worse. They raised the minimum wage, yes, but there are no jobs.”

Currently, 48 percent of migrants surveyed by a network of aid agencies cited unemployment and low wages as the main reasons for leaving Venezuela, while 40 percent cited difficulties in obtaining food and basic services. Commissioner for Refugees

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