LAGRANGE, Ohio — Diego Chaves-González and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada, researchers at the Migration Policy Institute, said more than 5 million refugees and migrants, including women and children, left Venezuela in June 2020. The vast majority of the approximately 4 million refugees and migrants have migrated to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. This massive migration has occurred due to the political and economic crises occurring in the country; the BBC reported that political tensions had increased due to soaring hyperinflation rates, power cuts and shortages of food and medicine.
To help alleviate the migrant and refugee crisis in Venezuela, Cuban Senator Robert Menendez proposed S.Res.375, which will support Venezuelan women and children as vulnerable populations in this crisis.
S.Res.375: Nature and Purpose
S.Res.375 is a “simple resolution,” which only requires Senate approval and does not have the force of law. Currently housed in the Foreign Relations Committee, once approved, Soncerria Berry, the current Secretary of the Senate, will attest to this. After this process, the Congressional Record will publish the resolution. The purpose of the bipartisan resolution is to support efforts to strengthen “protection, assistance, and solutions for Venezuelan women and children,” who experience food insecurity, femicide, and other gender-related crimes and lack of access to basic rights of housing, jobs and health care, as well as movement restrictions and other issues.
This resolution supports the women and children of Venezuela by calling on other countries to grant them temporary protected status, just like Colombia and the United States. According to the American Immigration Council, Temporary Protected Status provides refuge for nationals of foreign countries because those countries have issues that make deportation to their home country difficult or dangerous. This aspect of the resolution addresses the migrant and refugee crisis that this population currently faces. It also encourages governments already hosting Venezuelan women and children to improve their quality of life by ensuring that essential civilian social services, including health care, housing and food assistance, are provided to this population. vulnerable. The same recommendation also applies to international and non-governmental organizations providing assistance.
The migrant crisis in Venezuela
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), around 5 million migrants and refugees have left Venezuela due to the ongoing socio-political and economic crises. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy reported that leadership disputes have exacerbated these crises. Nicolas Maduro, the socialist leader of Venezuela, caused the economic crisis due to hyperinflation leading to extreme poverty. He has been the head of Venezuela for more than two decades. In May 2018, Maduro won an inextricably contested election, before Juan Guaido proclaimed himself president due to a constitutional provision eight months later in January 2019. Guaido is the head of the National Assembly, Venezuela’s legislative branch . Supported by different international parties, this has created an ongoing conflict contributing to migration.
How the International Organization for Migration has helped
The International Organization for Migration has helped Latin American governments assist Venezuelan migrants by providing humanitarian assistance including emergency kits, health care and food, and also by initiating research on the situation among other essential survival resources.
The role of Venezuela’s economic contraction in the refugee crisis
An avoidable economic contraction that Venezuelan leaders fabricated caused the refugee crisis in Venezuela. Researchers from the Brookings Institute claimed that since 2013 the Venezuelan economy has contracted by 65%, the largest contraction outside of the war in 45 years from 2019. According to the report, this led to the departure of 4.6 million Venezuelans, or 16% of the population. the country. Economic contraction is the decline of the economy as a whole. Qualitatively, Venezuela has seen a decline in oil outflow which includes lower levels of oil production, even with a heavy reliance on oil for exports, with oil sales accounting for 99% of revenue. export.
Several reports provide clues about who is leaving Venezuela and where. The Council on Foreign Relations reported that asylum seekers left the country due to political persecution and violence with other populations, including refugees and migrants. According to a 2020 Statista report, most migrants fled to Colombia and Peru. About 1,780,486 Venezuelans emigrated to the first country and 941,889 emigrated to the second.
Auxiliary resolution support
Interested persons can contact their senators to provide feedback on this bill to increase awareness. In addition, several non-governmental organizations are currently working to help the women and children of Venezuela, including Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Interested persons can actively participate in the sponsorship of a child (Save the Children), volunteer for the IRC or participate in political advocacy efforts.
Despite the migrant crisis in Venezuela, S.Res.375 offers practical advances for women and children in Venezuela. The fact that other Latin American countries are helping the vulnerable population also shows great support for this group in the days to come.
– Ozichukwu Ojukwu