Venezuela Has Lost 13% of its Population in a Mass Exodus from Socialism

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), “the exodus of Venezuelans is already one of the largest mass population movements in the history of Latin America.”

Venezuela has lost more than 13 percent of its population in the wake of the mass wave of migration caused by the so-called “socialism of the 21st century,” which has had a dramatic effect on other countries in the region due to the serious humanitarian crisis.

Official figures from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) indicate that between 2015 and 2017, Venezuelan emigration more than doubled, increasing from 700,000 people to 1.5 million.

But the truth is that there are thousands of Venezuelans with dual citizenship who have left Venezuela, just as there are many more who arrive as tourists to their new destinations and remain there. The migratory flow began with mass arrivals to neighboring Brazil and Colombia but has now spread across the region.

The Growing Refugee Crisis

According to pollster Consultores 21, 40 percent of the population of Venezuela wants to emigrate, and according to estimates by the sociologist Tomás Páez, by the middle of 2018, 15 percent of the Venezuelan population will have left the country with the hope of being able to return one day.

The streets are empty in Venezuela. As the months pass, there are fewer cars on the streets and fewer people on the sidewalks. Venezuelans' emigration is truly remarkable in the sense that the situation was once reversed: In just one decade Venezuela received 11 million foreigners fleeing crises in their own home countries. Those days are long gone.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated as of June 2018, the number of people who have left Venezuela is about 2.3 million, the vast majority of whom have moved to other regions of Latin America.

According to specialists’ estimates, this migration will continue to increase even though the situation in Venezuela may change. They also assert “the most probable scenario” is that the flow of Venezuelans to other countries will not diminish in the short-term.

According to specialists’ estimates, this migration will continue to increase even though the situation in Venezuela may change. They also assert “the most probable scenario” is that the flow of Venezuelans to other countries will not diminish in the short-term.

According to an investigation by The Economist, the total number of displaced Venezuelans may already have reached four million out of a population of about 30 million, which represents 13 percent of the population of Venezuela.

The majority of Venezuelans have emigrated to Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay. Many of the Venezuelans who enter Colombia do so via the border city of Cúcuta in the Norte de Santander state; in Brazil via the state of Roraima; in Ecuador via the International Bridge of Rumichaca; in Peru in Tumbes; and in Chile by Tacna. The majority do so by land crossings.

In view of this situation, the IOM warned that “the migratory crisis in Venezuela is so serious that it already could equal the refugee levels crossing the Mediterranean, which in 2015 became a critical humanitarian situation and was exacerbated by the increase in the uncontrolled flow of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants in vulnerable conditions. This situation still persists.”

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), “the exodus of Venezuelans is already one of the largest mass population movements in the history of Latin America.”

Socialism Created the Crisis—and Is Making It Worse

The conditions are getting worse not only because of the impossibility of accessing dollars due to the iron-fisted control the regime maintains over currency exchange but also with regard to the thousands of Venezuelans who are currently waiting up to two years to obtain their passports. This situation has forced them to emigrate illegally and reach their destination countries under precarious conditions.

In an interview with the PanAm Post on the subject of Venezuelan emigration, sociologist Tomás Páez, coordinator of the Global Project of the Venezuelan Diaspora, argued that “the main cause of Venezuelan emigration is the socialism of the 21st century.”

Paez explained that Venezuelan migration has repeated the same pattern of all Latin American migration, noting that the destination countries are those offering greater freedom and development—those in the north, such as the United States, Canada, and countries of the European Union.

However, in recent years, due to Venezuela's economic failure, which has impoverished 87 percent of the population, it has become impossible to buy air tickets out of the country, so now the migrants decide to go by land and even by sea.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, congratulated the Latin American countries that signed the Declaration of Quito but asked for more “regional coherence” in their response to the Venezuelan exodus.

The history of humanity has made it clear that people do not flee democracies; on the contrary, they flee the cruelest dictatorships when they feel that the situation will not change—that it will get worse and has no solution.

The history of humanity has made it clear that people do not flee democracies; on the contrary, they flee the cruelest dictatorships when they feel that the situation will not change—that it will get worse and has no solution. This is precisely what is happening in Venezuela.

When Hugo Chávez established 21st-century socialism, he precipitated the largest emigration in the history of the South American country, a situation that worsened with the arrival of Maduro to the point of becoming a diaspora comparable to what has happened in countries like Syria in the midst of civil wars.

This article was reprinted with permission from PanAm Post.

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