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7,500,000 Venezuelans have migrated out of the country since 2013 and are currently living in at least 90 countries around the world, according to figures from the Observatory of the Venezuelan Diaspora (OVD), of the Andrés Bello Catholic University.
These numbers are higher than those offered by the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration, which a few months ago indicated that the number of migrants in the world was 7,100,000. However, these platforms only count the presence of Venezuelans in 33 countries and the research has been done since 2017.
“Migration is not going to stop because the situation has not improved in Venezuela. The parallel dollar was at 18.26 bolivars on Friday, December 9. This means that only in the first week of December the devaluation of the bolivar was 35%. In spite of the fact that there is a dollarized economy, the country continues to register an inflation rate of around 200 % per year”, told La Prensa de Lara the sociologist Tomás Páez, coordinator of the OVD.
He pointed out that the country’s economic problems are compounded by the failures in public services, which is also a reason for Venezuelans to continue migrating in search of a better quality of life.
Visas have not stopped migration
Páez warned that the visas established in most Latin American countries have made Venezuelan migrants an easy target for criminal organizations operating in drug trafficking, prostitution and human trafficking. “The migratory controls applied by the countries only slow down Venezuelan migration, but they have not been able to stop it”, he explained.
In the case of migration to the United States, he pointed out that although the number of Creoles who risked their lives crossing the inhospitable Darien Jungle in Panama has decreased, migrants continue to seek other destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile or Uruguay
“This last country has received many Venezuelans in the last 2 months. There are about 30,000 Creoles now in that small nation of 3 million citizens, when in 2021 there were about 16,000 Venezuelan migrants only,” he said.
Due to economic and political instability in countries such as Argentina and Peru in recent months, there has also been a displacement of Venezuelans, but to European countries, according to the Venezuelan Diaspora Observatory.
After the opening of the Colombian border, it is more difficult to count Venezuelan departures, however, at the migration points of the Popular Research Center of the UCAB, the mobilization of families migrating in extreme poverty continues to occur.
“These shelters in Colombia receive between 10 and 12 Venezuelan families a day, when until September they were receiving between 30 and 40 families,” Alexander Campos, a sociologist and migration researcher, told La Prensa de Lara.
The Venezuelan diaspora is expected to pick up again as of December 21, because this is the deadline set by a U.S. federal judge to stop applying Title 42, the rule by which the U.S. has been expelling undocumented migrants using the pandemic as a pretext.