In recent years, Venezuela has faced a deepening crisis that requires continued international attention and a regional perspective. The country’s mobility crisis, which mirrors the internal situation, is unprecedented in the region and after a relative stagnation last year, is expected to worsen in 2023. In the Darien Gap crossing alone, Panamanian authorities report five times more migrants have crossed in the first few months of this year, compared to 2022 – and 60% of them are Venezuelan. It is crucial that this crisis remains on the international radar, and that a coordinated, rights-and-protection-centered approach guides international and regional responses.
According to a recent report by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), three Latin American countries are among the most neglected displacement crises in the world: Colombia, El Salvador, and Venezuela. The annual ranking of the most neglected displacement crises is based on three criteria: inadequate humanitarian funding, lack of media attention, and absence of international political and diplomatic initiatives. Burkina Faso tops the list, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both Colombia and El Salvador are new additions in 2022; Venezuela, on the other hand, has been on and off the list since 2018.
The report highlights the insufficient media coverage of displacement issues in Colombia, to which the Venezuelan mobility crisis contributes greatly, despite the magnitude of the issue. Venezuelans displaced in other countries also receive comparatively little attention and media coverage. The consequences of this multifaceted crisis in Venezuela are overwhelming. An estimated 7 million vulnerable Venezuelans have left the country, embarking on dangerous journeys in search of international protection and a glimmer of hope for the future. The situation remains dire, with people trapped in terrible circumstances, torn between fleeing violence or enduring extreme poverty without certainty about their next meal or the ability to afford rent.
The prolonged political crisis and economic instability have taken a toll on the Venezuelan people, resulting in widespread displacement and severe humanitarian needs in-country. The combination of political complexities, economic challenges, and limited media coverage has contributed to the neglect of the Venezuelan crisis. It is crucial that the international community acknowledges the urgency of the situation and increases efforts to address the Venezuelan mobility crisis, providing the necessary funding and support to alleviate the suffering of those affected, through a rights-centered approach that recognizes that most Venezuelans displaced abroad need international protection.
To further understand the internal conflict fueling displacements and how regional leadership could support democratic reinstitutionalization in Venezuela, consider reading this joint statement signed by 200+ civil society organizations and individuals working on the ground to address these issues.
By shining a light on the crisis in Venezuela and urging for sustained international engagement, we can contribute to finding solutions and providing much-needed assistance to the Venezuelan people. Let us not forget the plight of millions who are suffering and support efforts to restore peace, stability, and democracy in Venezuela.