Deeply Talks: Lessons from Venezuela’s Refugee Crisis

The scale of the exodus from Venezuela is testing the region’s historically progressive approach to displacement and migration. In our latest Deeply Talks, we discuss lessons from Venezuela and the regional response.

Written by Natalie Sikorski Published on Read time Approx. 1 minutes
A man cuts the metal structure of a shelter used by Venezuelan refugees which was destroyed in the border city of Pacaraima, Roraima State, Brazil, August 20, 2018. MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images

The crisis in Venezuela has resulted in the exodus of at least 2 million people to neighboring countries. This mass migration, the largest in Latin America in recent history, is testing the region’s historical solidarity and openness to migration.

This openness grew out of a political response to earlier Latin American migration to the United States and Europe, explained Luisa Feline Freier, professor at the Universidad del Pacifico, in our latest Deeply Talks. Human rights groups then pushed governments to pursue progressive policies that matched that rhetoric: “So, there was a paradigm shift, not only in the discourse, but also in both migration and refugee laws across Latin America,” Freier said.

Now, the scale of the displacement from Venezuela has exposed some international tensions over that approach, with recent unrest at Brazil’s border with Venezuela, and Peru and Ecuador tightening entry rules for Venezuelans.

Speaking at the Deeply Talks on Venezuela, Chiara Cardoletti-Caroll, UNHCR’s deputy regional representative to the United States of America and the Caribbean, noted that recent migration to Europe provoked larger international response. “There has not been the same ‘call for support’ to South American countries and the Caribbean in the same way that we have seen it for for other continents,” she said.

You can listen to the full episode here:

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