Venezuela exodus is a world crisis

Venezuela exodus is a world crisis
By Mark Armstrong
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Regional politicians say the exodus of people fleeing economic crisis in Venezuela is worthy of global recognition


The flow of Venezuelan refugees to neighbouring countries in the region is reaching crisis point according to politicians from a number of nations. Several governments are trying to organise a more coordinated response to the emergency out of fear that if something is not done it will get out of control.

Colombia and Peru, the countries that are taking in the most Venezuelans, have agreed to create a joint database in order to deal more effectively with the migrants.

Another meeting of the wider Andean Community in the Peruvian capital Lima included Ecuador and Bolivia. The gathering was to look for more solutions to the problem and address crucial issues such as health care.

"This is a crisis of a magnitude that is worthy of global recognition," said Colombian Foreign Minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

Venezuelans are leaving in droves due to economic meltdown that has led to a shortage of even the most basic food supplies. A million have gone to Colombia, 400,000 to Peru, and 120,000 to Brazil; and there's no sign of the flow slowing down anytime soon as the country shows no immediate prospect of recovering.

The migrants have to be fed, housed and given health care, which is a huge pressure on countries that do not necessarily have the resources. That can generate tension with the people receiving the refugees, as happened in Brazil where the army was called in to control the border with Venezuela.

The Brazilian President, Michel Temer, is also calling for wider recognition of the crisis:

"It is no longer a matter of a country's internal politics, but one that goes beyond the borders of many countries and threatens the harmony of our entire continent."

The tensions have resulted in some violence. Trouble broke out in the district of Pacaraima on Brazil's border with Venezuela. Local people attacked and burned the migrant camps, forcing some 1,200 people to turn back

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