The Never-ending Flow of Venezuelan Refugees

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryI have a good friend in New York named Art. He works for an agency that helps immigrants and refugees. He told me that many of his clients are Venezuelan refugees. The agency Art works for tries to help Venezuelans adapt to conditions in America. They learn how to shop, how to ride the New York subway, how to rent an apartment, and where to seek help for finding employment. Since Art is fluent in Spanish (having lived in Costa Rica and Guatemala), he can communicate things that these Venezuelan refugees need to know. One thing of note; these Venezuelan refugees are the lucky ones. Their status being in the United States has been approved, they have family living in America, and they can make a life for themselves in this country. As refugees they will still struggle to make a life for themselves here, but they will enjoy the blessings of living in the United States.

Many, many Venezuelan refugees are not so lucky. So many hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees are choking the major cities of Mexico, straining that country’s resources in handling this refugee flow. Mexico is far from being the only country with a Venezuelan refugee crisis; Panama has also been badly affected. Panama’s once dense, quiet jungle southern border now sees tens of thousands of Venezuelans going through it every month. For Panama ecologically as well as economically it is a major strain. The Venezuelans have been and continue to head wherever they can to find a better life compared to Venezuela. The countries of Peru and Colombia have taken in the largest number of Venezuelans; about three million. But even with the generosity of Peru and Colombia, the Venezuelan refugee crisis is without question the worst in this century.

There are now over seven million Venezuelan refugees. This is the largest number of refugees in the world now. The second largest number of refugees are the Ukrainians at six million, and then the Syrian refugees at five million. So by every metric the Venezuelan refugee crisis is the single worst. Considering that Venezuela is not a warn-torn country, the only reason why this refugee crisis is so bad is entirely due to the socialist policies of the socialist government of Venezuela. If the Venezuelan government held free and fair elections tomorrow then gradually the refugee crisis will begin to go away. For all due purposes, Venezuela is now a failed nation state, and a civil war would make this horrid mess far more terrifying. Really the only way this crisis can truly be ended is for the end of the socialist government under so-called President Nicolas Maduro. Until then, the Venezuelan refugee crisis and Venezuela’s agony seems to be never-ending.

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