UN: Venezuela’s migrant exodus up to 3 million

by WorldTribune Staff, November 9, 2018

The number of residents who have fled the economic and humanitarian nightmare in socialist Venezuela has topped 3 million, the United Nations said on Nov. 8.

Venezuelans wait in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela, to cross the border into Colombia. / AFP / Getty Images

The exodus amounts to around one in 12 of the nation’s population.

William Spindler of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appealed for greater international efforts to ease the strain on Venezuela’s neighbors.

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

“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.

Earlier this year, Ecuador and Peru announced tighter entry rules, with the former declaring a state of emergency in three northern states which receive up to 4,200 Venezuelans daily.

Oil-rich Venezuela has sunk into crisis under socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who analysts say has sent the nation’s economy into chaos through state interventions while clamping down on political opponents.

Venezuela is in a fourth straight year of recession, with double-digit declines in its gross domestic product. The inflation rate is expected to reach one million percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Since 2013, Venezuela’s currency has fallen 99.99 percent against the U.S. dollar on the black market.

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

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