The OAS says that the closure of borders by COVID-19 in Venezuela alters the routes of refugees


Some 5.4 million migrants and refugees have fled Venezuela, according to figures presented this Tuesday by the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes a “deepening” of the crisis in Venezuela and highlights that “the closure of borders during the COVID-19 emergency “has forced Venezuelans to use” irregular roads “to leave the country, many of them dangerous.

Those who leave Venezuela are forced to use alternative routes, such as “trails” or “dangerous maritime routes,” something that increases “their condition of vulnerability,” says a report published Tuesday by the agency.

According to the report’s figures, although 130,000 people have returned to Venezuela so far, the economic reopening of Latin American countries has slowed down the return flow, and, in fact, has increased the numbers of nationals leaving the country.

Some 500 Venezuelans cross daily into neighboring Colombia, on irregular roads, as the border crossings between the two countries remain closed.

However, in the seven months of the pandemic, the number of Venezuelans in Colombian territory has decreased by 6.2 percent, from 1,809,872 in March to 1,715,831 in September.

In the latest report of the agency, the episode of November 22 is also denounced, when a group of 29 Venezuelans – including 16 minors – were deported by the Trinidad and Tobago authorities, although finally a court ruling The country’s Supreme Court allowed them to return within 48 hours.

In this sense, with the closing of borders and the deepening of the crisis in Venezuela, it is “more and more frequent” that Venezuelans risk their lives fleeing “desperate for the sea in a smaller boat that transports them to some Caribbean island.” OAS figures reflect that there are some 224,000 Colombian migrants and refugees in the Caribbean.

Faced with the Venezuelan migration crisis, some countries in the region have instituted concrete measures for migrants and displaced persons, such as Costa Rica, which has created a special category of protection for Venezuelan migrants, or Peru, which has instituted “special, exceptional and temporary “to regulate the migratory situation of foreigners in their territory.

The OAS, finally, denounces that “the illegitimate regime of Venezuela continues to violate the right to identity of Venezuelan citizens by not guaranteeing the issuance of new passports, as well as extensions that allow the validity of said

This “violation of Human Rights”, they say, has become more acute in the context of the pandemic, “preventing many Venezuelans from being able to identify, mobilize and carry out procedures to regularize their immigration status.”

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