Latin America Facing The Worst Refugee Crisis From Venezuelan
A humanitarian crisis has been looming in Venezuela for some time now. This has resulted from anti government protests.
Numerous people have died since the wake of the protests which began in April the year 2017.
Some Latin American countries are afraid that the Venezuelan crisis will bring about an upsurge of refugees. While some of these countries have offered to help, they are afraid that the intended refugee camps will worsen the situation rather than ease it.
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has been quoted saying that Venezuela is his worst nightmare. He uttered these words while being awarded for his relentless attempts in trying to obtain a peace deal in his country. As Colombia prepares to go into the presidential elections later in 2018, political analyst Roberto Cajamarca said during an interview that a collapse in Venezuela would spell doom for Colombia in regard to their peace process.
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Humanitarian Crisis In Venezuela
Venezuelans have had to go through lack of medication, starvation, and the country’s health system is said to be in a deplorable state. However, if Venezuela declares bankruptcy, then that will be the worst it has ever come. Venezuelan officials are doing all they can to launch a humanitarian assistance program. For instance, Elenis Rodriguez is the country’s attorney who is presently in exile. He however is trying all he can to save the situation
Various neighboring countries such as Colombia and Peru are admitting refugees from Venezuela. However, there are those who have sealed their borders such as Panama. In an effort to counter the impending humanitarian crisis, Lima group, a confederation has organized a crisis meeting to deliberate on the Venezuelan status, as well as coordinate and formulate humanitarian assistance. The group comprises of Canada and 11 other Latin American countries.
According to an estimation made by the Colombian migration authority, almost half a million citizens from Venezuela were allowed into the country through a specialized program where they were not under obligation to present passports. Even then, the authorities opinionated that close to 140,000 Venezuelans had made their way into the country illegally. They shared these statistics on Twitter while saying that a big percentage of people who had come in through the special program did that in order to access aid or food.
The migration authority director in Colombia Christian Krueger said that the Colombian government could not overlook the reality that the Venezuelans are facing; neither could they close their doors to them. He cited the aforementioned as reasons why the country had established an exclusive residency permit for the citizens of Venezuela. While the permit is set to oversee their refugee status, it will also allow them to work in Colombia.
Currently, Venezuelans are finding themselves in a more complicated situation.Media reports indicate that many of them prefer to work for less than the stipulated minimum wage. Most of the times, they work with no health insurance cover.
Many of them spend the night in bus stations since they are not able to afford accommodation.
Setting Up Of Refugee Camps
The border between Venezuela and Columbia stretches 1,370 miles approximately 2,200 kilometers long. If the Venezuelan crisis worsens, then Colombian will be facing an increased threat due to an upsurge in refugees. Officials in Colombia are considering establishing 7 refugee camps along the border. Even then the move is expected to cause a predicament.
An official from the Colombian government said that establishing refugee camps is bound to worsen the situation as this may be translated to mean that the refugees are welcome in the country. This will place Colombia in a compromising situation and prompt it to seek help from both international and neighboring aid groups, at least to manage the humanitarian crisis.
Presently, there have not been any calls to close the Colombian borders. However, the authorities understand that as the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis intensifies, the more organizations and neighboring countries are likely to embrace the peace process. While the Venezuelan president is stuck in a political nightmare, the destiny and number of people looking to escape the turmoil is increasing.
The Latin American countries are still trying to decipher ways to bring the Venezuelan crisis to an end.