Ecuador meets this September 3, 2018 authorities from 12 countries in the region to find solutions to the migration crisis of Venezuelan citizens. The mass exodus is unprecedented in the recent history of Latin America, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The meeting in Quito, which will end tomorrow, is done without the presence of Venezuela.
The idea is to coordinate efforts and provide humanitarian assistance to people who have been forced to move “due to the difficult circumstances they are experiencing in their country,” explained Foreign Minister José Valencia. The event will start at 09:00 with the participation of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Ecuador.
In addition, delegates from the World Bank. Although his conclusions will be known at 4:00 PM tomorrow, September 4, the Vice Minister of Human Mobility, Santiago Chávez, said that Ecuador will propose migration projects with a development focus for the insertion of migrants in the countries and the search of solutions so that they have a decent life, for example, through entrepreneurial alternatives.
The career diplomat Eduardo Durán describes as “positive” that Venezuela does not participate in this regional meeting, since the Government of Nicolás Maduro has denied that this humanitarian crisis is due to the political and economic situation of that South American country.
“This will allow greater slack so that countries can deal objectively with the issue and not waste time in ideological discussions and false accusations as the Venezuelan President has formulated,” he said.
Durán agrees with the international affairs analyst Mauricio Gándara that “the ideal” would be for a quota mechanism to be established so that, according to its capacity, the countries of the region can be recipients of Venezuelan migrants. That proposal was made five months ago by the current president of Colombia, Iván Duque, during the electoral campaign, since that country is the country with the largest number of migrants.
In Europe, this policy was already in place to distribute migrants as a result of the Syrian conflict in 2016. In the case of Ecuador, from January to August there are 641,353 Venezuelan citizens who have entered and 524 857 of them have left, according to data from migration.
Until the end of this year, it is expected that 300,000 will reside in Ecuadorian territory. According to Victoria Albán, president of the Ecuadorian Red Cross, this phenomenon has already overwhelmed the State’s response capacity. He commented that only this organization has allocated more than USD 100 000 to serve 32 420 people from July until now.
For the diplomatic experts, the fact that a majority group of countries attend the meeting in Quito guarantees that there will be concrete results and that they serve as a precedent for the discussion within the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday.
The ex-chancellor Juan Carlos Faidutti, however, pointed out that “we are facing a situation with no way out” in the diplomatic field, Venezuela is already processing its exit from the OAS and it remains valid for the pronouncement of the international community.
“The serious problem of international norms and treaties is that there are declarations, but there is no formula to sanction countries that violate these provisions,” he said. Almost all agree that the migration crisis will continue and that countries will have no alternative but to ask for help from international organizations to meet the needs of migrants.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), of the 2.3 million Venezuelans living abroad, who represent 7.5% of the population total of that country, more than 1.6 million have fled since 2015.
Last week there were two regional meetings to discuss the details of Venezuelan immigration. The first was in Bogotá, last Monday, where Colombia and Peru were. The other one in Lima of the CAN, on Wednesday, without the presence of Bolivia. (I)