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$1.5 Billion To Help Venezuelan Refugees

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The International community pledged to provide $1.5 billion USD for helping the 5.6 million Venezuelan refugees who fled the country since 2015. Venezuela calls it a “political propaganda operation“.

On June 17, the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants saw international donors from 46 countries, the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, pledging to help Venezuelan migrants with $1.5 billion USD.

It would include $954 million in grants and $600 million in loans. The money is used to provide immediate assistance to refugees such as food, shelter, sanitation and for longer-term support in education and in finding job opportunities. The United States promised $400 million USD, double from last year, the European Union $163 million and Canada $93 million.

Before the conference, the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Venezuela estimated that $1.44 billion was required to urgently respond to the crisis. Over 5.4 million Venezuelans have left or fled their homes since 2015, including 4.6 million who now reside in the Latin America and Caribbean region. It is currently the second largest forced human migration in the world after the one caused by the Syrian civil war with 5.6 million people who fled their country since 2011. In 2015, the total population of Venezuela was above 30 million but it had only 28.5 million Venezuelans in the country in 2019.

Venezuelan population data
The population of Venezuela steadily grew until 2015 and declined with the migration crisis | Data commons

Colombia will regularize 1 million Venezuelan migrants before 2022

Countries in the region continue to generously welcome Venezuelans, but their capacity and resources are reaching a breaking point“, said in May Karina Gould, Minister of International Development of Canada, the host country for this year’s video conference. Spain was the host of the conference in 2020, which resulted in $2.79 billion supporting 3.18 million Venezuelan refugees or migrants.

Colombia’s President Iván Duque said that by the end of 2021, the country would give a 10-year protected statute to more than 1 million Venezuelans living in Colombia who applied for the regularization of their situation. Opposed to the government in Venezuela, he promised the regularization of Venezuelan refugees during his Presidential campaign in 2018. Colombia is the first country where Venezuelans go to. It welcomes 1.8 million migrants, among which half of them crossed the 2,200 kilometers border undocumented. Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and the United States, offered similar measures to regularize the displaced.

Colombia Venezuela border
The border between Colombia and Venezuela. About 900,000 Venezuelans went to Colombia undocumented since 2015 | Wilsanmo, 2010

Venezuela released a statement condemning the cynism” of a “media farce” calling it “a crude anti-Venezuelan political propaganda operation. It claims the situation is caused by “the imposition of a criminal blockade through illegal sanctions” from the very same United States, European Union or Canada.

On June 16, the United States unlocked sanctions, requested by the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, to acquire goods to fight the pandemic such as tests, masks, ventilators or Covid-19 vaccines. But the ban of commerce with state companies, such as with PDVSA, the state-owned oil and gas company, or the military remains in place.

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