Insights into Editorial: A failed coup in Venezuela
Venezuelans are fleeing their country for multiple reasons.
- Severe shortages of medicine, medical supplies, and food make it extremely difficult for many families to have access to the most basic health care and to feed their children.
- Government crackdown has led to thousands of arbitrary arrests, hundreds of prosecutions of civilians by military courts, and torture and other abuses against detainees.
- Arbitrary arrests and abuses by security forces, including by intelligence services, continue.
- Extremely high rates of violent crime and hyperinflation are also key factors in many people’s decision to leave the country.
Most of them are fleeing to adjacent Colombia as well as to countries like Ecuador, Peru. The mass migration is one of the forced displacements in the western hemisphere.
Brief Background on Present Venezuela Crisis:
Venezuela’s former President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998. He promised to fight poverty and inequality through socialism and nationalised huge amounts of private assets, including oil companies.
Petróleos de Venezuela, which is a state-run firm that controls entire oil production in Venezuela.
This state-run oil firm was tasked with the job of exporting oil to spend the revenues on social welfare.
Social welfare schemes were expanded as the Venezuela’s economy is primarily dependent on oil exports. As a result, Venezuela’s poverty rate fell from 50% in 1998 to 30% in 2012.
As oil prices tumbled from around $ 115 per barrel in 2014 to as low as $ 27 per barrel in 2016, then slowly, crisis has been evolved since of no other major commodity to export in place of oil, resulted in dollar flow got stopped.
Then, Government borrowed freshly to continue Social welfare schemes. It created Bolivars (Venezuela currency) from the Central Bank.
The central bank stopped publishing inflation data in December 2015, and gross domestic product hasn’t been updated in more than a year.
Venezuela’s money supply grew from 10.6 bn bolivars in 1998 to 290 bn bolivars in 2010 and later reached 7,513 bn bolivars by 2016
It resulted in rapid domestic price inflation and drop in the bolivars value and crippled the economy.
How the Venezuelan migration crisis affects South America?
Venezuela has seen a mass exodus of citizens fleeing poverty, hyperinflation, failing public services and shortages of basic necessities.
According to the United Nations, over 3 million Venezuelans have been displaced in the region since 2015 as the fallout from the country’s economic crisis took hold.
Around between 10 and 12 per cent of Venezuelans currently live abroad in more than 90 countries due to displacement and Migration by force.
Is Venezuela a pandemic threat to the region?
- Venezuela’s crisis has not been contained within its borders. They are arriving in countries hungry and sick.
- They are commonly suffering from severe malnutrition, diarrhoea, no vaccinations, and lack of prenatal care, and their arrival is spreading eradicated diseases to neighbouring countries.
- According to the Ministry of Health of Colombia, it has received, cases of malaria, malnutrition, 49 deaths to HIV and 26 maternal mortalities were reported in 2017 alone.
- In the state of Roraima, Brazil in 2017, there were 2,576 malaria cases imported from Venezuela, representing 55% of all imported cases, according to
- In Ecuador, measles cases were confirmed, 75% of which were among Venezuelan citizens. The Ministry of Health also confirmed 12 imported malaria cases in 2018, nine of them from Venezuela.
- Women fleeing Venezuela’s desperate infant mortality situation are crossing into countries to give birth.
- Most of these babies are stateless, since in Colombian legislation, it only offers citizenship to children who have at least one Colombian parent. An “invisible generation” of Venezuelans is being born, who do not legally exist in either country.
- Venezuela has caused the region to undergo a health regression. Hospitals and clinics in receiving countries have already collapsed, creating a huge strain on state and local healthcare systems.
- The biggest obstacle is not having enough human capital, supplies or financial resources to keep operations going.
Way Forward for Protection of Migrants:
To effectively protect the rights of Venezuelans fleeing their country, states should ensure careful, individualized consideration of all asylum claims.
In doing so, they should consider recent recommendations issued by UNHCR and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Other countries should also consider adopting other legal mechanisms to afford protection and legal status to Venezuelans.
They are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the countries to which they have migrated. Governments should come together to adopt a collective and concerted response to it.
In particular, governments should consider adopting:
A region-wide temporary protection regime that would grant all Venezuelans legal status for a fixed period of time, at least pending adjudication of their individual claims for protection; and
A regional mechanism to distribute both financial costs, and the actual hosting of Venezuelans fleeing their country, on an equitable basis.
Governments should also look for alternatives to detention for asylum seekers, prevent arbitrary or prolonged detention in cases where detention is utilized, which should be a measure of last resort.
Allow international organizations and nongovernmental groups access to immigration detention centres to monitor detention conditions and ensure access to protection.
However, the Venezuelans have been doing their homework and laying the organizational groundwork for change.
Political parties, trade unions, universities, NGOs, and the Catholic Church have come together in an initiative called Venezuela Libre.
They have been working on a detailed economic plan, amply discussed with the international community, to overcome the crisis and restore growth. This is an eye opener for the international community to identify flaws and providing remarkable solutions to the present problem.