Venezuelan Refugee Crisis

Group #12: Jose Briceño-Perez, Julio Gonzalez, Jasmin Peña

History of Venezuela: Economic crash, activism, and current political violence

Venezuelans are leaving their country in high numbers, they are fleeing their country’s economic, humanitarian and governmental crisis. A large number of Venezuelans are seeking asylum around the world. Many plea for alternative forms of documentation which allow them to stay in different South American countries where they share common bonds of culture, language, and history. Venezuela is currently experiencing one of the worst refugee crisis. The article Venezuela Is a Refugee Crisis states that “over 3 million people have fled the country over the last few years… [and an estimate of] 25,000 people are fleeing the country every single day”. This is caused by the decrease in access to medicine and shortage of food supplies. Colombia is accepting the vast majority of Venezuelan refugees followed by Peru (500,000), Ecuador (220,000), Argentina (130,000), Chile (100,000), Brazil (85,000), and Panama with 94,000 refugees. As people are moving in these mass numbers it is important to look at how they are doing so. One of the key non-governmental actors in helping guide refugees seek asylum in other countries is social media, (Facebook groups and Whats App), along with the Venezuelan people themselves. Both of these sources, help refugees network and thoroughly plan out their journey  despite being miles away from their potential host country.

Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into the border city of Cucutan, Colombia, October 2018.

The current situation of venezuela has forced its citizens to flee the other host countries which have shown solidarity as agreed during the signing of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees. In the 1980s, as a response to the civil wars in Central America, “ten countries in Latin America-including Venezuela- signed the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, expanding refugee protections to those fleeing internal armed conflicts, generalized violence, or massive human rights violations.” Countries in South America aim to created programs that facilitate Venezuelan migration. For example, Brazil’s Normative Resolution NO. 126, Chile has a Visa of Democratic Responsibility, Colombia has the Permiso Especial de Permanencia, and other countries like Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile also have have similar programs that allow Venezuelans to obtain refugee status. However, despite the solidarity that these countries try to extend, most of these programs are temporary and tend to require paperwork or money that refugees do not have.

Undoubtedly, the Venezuelan refugee crisis is a transnational epidemic which violates human rights. Institutionalized oppression and violence have led to tension among states and Venezuelan migrants. The scope of this research focuses on analyzing the political tension through various case studies that illustrate the struggle in Venezuela and its bordering nations. It is essential to critically tie the historical context and understand the elements that contribute to the violation of human rights. This case introduces principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and demonstrates how excessive political repression is responsible for the social instability and death of thousands of migrants. Currently, the refugee crisis continues and this research justifies the need for an immediate humanitarian response to ultimately protect the right to life.

Protest Poster for the Hands Off Venezuela Movement done by students in the Chicanx Studies Screen Printing class during winter quarter 2019.

Full Dossier here

Screen Printing poster by Wendy Hernandez, a UC Davis undergraduate student. Portrait represent migrating parents and their children.

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