The exodus of three million Venezuelans over the past few years pictures the Venezuela's economic, political and humanitarian overwhelming crisis. The imbalance of the Caribbean country has become a great humanitarian challenge that the international community should address.
The mass exodus of Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in buses, boats and even on foot to cross borders, shows the serious limitations of access to opportunities and freedom in that country. The United Nations anticipates that the number of Venezuelans fleeing can rise to five million in 2019.
The number of displaced Venezuelans may eventually exceed the number of Syrians, Congolese and Yemenis displaced by wars and political crisis. There are 6.3 million Syrian refugees who left their homes in the largest forced exodus.
Venezuelans leave their country driven by the chronic deterioration of the quality of life, which includes food and medicine shortage, as well as poor health, electricity, water, transport and safety services. They are also forced to leave due to the lack of civil liberties.
They are leaving a deeply divided country, victim of wrong government decisions that wrecked the oil industry, the heart of the economy that used to beat strongly.
In this scenario, Nicolás Maduro is set to be sworn in for a second term this month. Neither many sectors of Venezuela nor influential democratic governments support him.
The climate of uncertainty is aggravated due to criminality that threatens Venezuela. High kidnapping, assaults and murder rates has turned it into the nation with the highest number of violent deaths on the planet, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence. The OVV anticipated that the country would close 2018 with 23,407 homicides, doubling the crime rate of neighbors like Honduras and El Salvador, who face serious internal conflicts.
Venezuela is on the way to another record: the worst inflation rate in the history of Latin America and one of the largest in the world. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects a gigantic increase in consumer products prices, including medicines, and an unprecedented hyperinflation in 2019. The IMF attributes this economic debacle to the government's decision to alleviate high fiscal deficits with debt. The loss of confidence in the national currency is another important factor.
Medicine shortage is a serious problem. Getting them is a difficult task and their prices are unaffordable. The lack of vaccines has led to the re-emergence of dangerous infectious diseases, such as malaria, with 406,000 cases in 2017, according to the Pan American Health Organization. The health care system collapsed. Maduro had to ask the UN for help to buy medical equipment last November, due to the lack of materials in hospitals.
There is no doubt that the Venezuelan crisis has become a serious challenge for neighboring countries, who are not prepared to receive such a migration flow. Colombia has received one million people, Peru half a million and Ecuador 221,000.
Most of these migrants find themselves in a legal and citizenship limbo that exposes them to new dangers. These include being kidnapped by mafias engaged in human trafficking, and the rejection of communities afraid of newcomers. The ordeal Venezuelans are going through does not end when they leave their homes, their careers, their jobs and even their families searching for a better future.
Therefore, is imperative for the international community to strongly reject totalitarian practices that are oppressing Venezuelan, forcing them to leave their country, often leading to misadventures.
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