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Venezuelan Migrants Left Between Protection and Expulsion

venezolanos, diáspora, El American

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[Leer en español]

There is no ending in sight to the economic and socio-political crisis in Venezuela. There have been innumerable diplomatic discussions on the matter, meetings, declarations, and as an analyst of international dynamics I have been obliged to address the problem from some of its edges. In short, a lot of time and effort has been poured into this protracted problem and no solution is remotely in sight.

On this occasion I will not allude either to the historical reasons for the problem (Chávez and his Castroist model of Cuba), or to the institutional variables (neo-communist praetorianism), nor to the geopolitical imbalances, following the penetration of extra-regional powers such as Russia, China and Iran, nor to its effects in matters of hemispheric security, typical of a narco-state ergo outlaw or jackal. This time I will refer to the most vulnerable part of the crisis: the people.

It turns out that since the onset of the Venezuelan tragedy, around five million people left the country and spread throughout South America, generating a large concentration of people in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. With the advent of the Chinese virus pandemic, things got even worse for the displaced Venezuelans, who continued their pilgrimage to the trans-Andean lands.

In conceptual terms, Venezuelan migrants are not common migrants, they are displaced from a long political-institutional and socio-economic conflict unprecedented in the region, perhaps very similar to the massive flight of Cubans from the Port of Mariel during the 1980s.

The President of Colombia, Iván Duque has been the man who has most fully understood the dimension of the situation and has made the greatest effort on the part of Colombia to attend to my brothers, granting them the deserved status of “Protection” to Venezuelan refugees, a fact that earned him the praise of the UNHCR authorities and the infinite gratitude of millions of Venezuelans.

Paradoxically, the government of Sebastián Piñera in Chile (equally democratic and even center-right like Duque’s and both very active in the Lima Group), faced with the same problem, opted for a measure that was not only criticized but also in clear divorce with international humanitarian law. He ignored the reality by treating the displaced Venezuelans in his country as undocumented or illegal immigrants, which is why they recently deported a many on a military flight to Maiquetía (Venezuela).

From here I express my condemnation to such measures, which I extend to the ambassador to Paraguay, Mr. Rodrigo Perez, to whom I beg to raise with his government a request to provide more humane treatment to my fellow countrymen.

Nahem Reyes has a PhD in History, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.

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