Venezue­lan mi­grant ex­o­dus hits 3 mil­lion - UN

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

GENEVA, (Reuters) - Three mil­lion Venezue­lans have fled eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in their home­land, most since 2015, the United Na­tions said on Thurs­day.

The ex­o­dus, driven by vi­o­lence, hy­per­in­fla­tion and short­ages of food and medicines, amounts to around one in 12 of the pop­u­la­tion.

It has ac­cel­er­ated in the past six months, said Wil­liam Spindler of the U.N. High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees (UN­HCR), which ap­pealed for greater in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to ease the strain on the coun­try’s neigh­bours.

U.N. data in Septem­ber showed 2.6 mil­lion had fled.

“The main in­creases con­tinue to be re­ported in Colom­bia and Peru,” Spindler said.

Colom­bia is shel­ter­ing 1 mil­lion Venezue­lans. Some 3,000 more ar­rive each day, and the Bo­gota gov­ern­ment says 4 mil­lion could be liv­ing there by 2021, cost­ing it nearly $9 bil­lion.

Oil-rich Venezuela has sunk into cri­sis un­der So­cial­ist Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro, who has dam­aged the econ­omy through state in­ter­ven­tions while clamp­ing down on po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

He has dis­missed the migration fig­ures as “fake news” meant to jus­tify for­eign in­ter­ven­tion in Venezuela’s af­fairs.

The In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Migration (IOM) and UN­HCR said the ex­o­dus was strain­ing sev­eral neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, no­tably Colom­bia.

“Coun­tries in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean have largely main­tained a com­mend­able open-door pol­icy,” said Ed­uardo Stein, UN­HCR-IOM Joint Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Refugees and Mi­grants from Venezuela.

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