Over 5.5 million people in an exodus from Venezuela since 2015

Over 5.5 million people in an exodus from Venezuela since 2015

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The exodus of people leaving Venezuela since 2015 is now over 5.5 million. Yet unlike the exodus of vast numbers of people fleeing war-torn nations including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Syria, the reason in Venezuela isn’t related to war. Therefore, the economic crisis in Venezuela under President Nicolás Maduro, increasing power concentration, rising poverty, the failing health care system, unemployment, and other serious problems all led to millions of people fleeing their homeland. 

Socialism under Hugo Chavez, the former President of Venezuela, had started promisingly. Thus social programs concerning education, health care, housing, and other important areas were aimed at helping the poor. However, by the time of the death of Chavez in 2013, the rot had already begun because corruption, political cronyism, food shortages, growing poverty, the murder rate, and other ills had begun in earnest from 2010 until the death of Chavez. 

The next and current leader of Venezuela, Maduro, was unable to stop the slide of growing poverty and social alienation. Instead, while people faced growing poverty and increasing health care shortages, Maduro focused on grand political statements and cementing power concentration under socialism. 

The Guardian reports, “More than 5.6 million have left the country since 2015, when it had a population of 30 million, escaping political, economic and social hardships. It has become the largest external displacement crisis in the region’s history, and the most underfunded.”

Voice of America says, “U.N. agencies report millions of impoverished Venezuelans are in dire straits and dependent upon humanitarian assistance for survival.”

However, the international ravages of coronavirus, the dire situation throughout the Sahel region, and military conflicts in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Syria, Yemen, and other nations – along with other important health ills concerning tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and an array of other concerns including dementia – all mean that donors are not responding adequately to the crisis facing millions of Venezuelans. 

International aid agencies say that $1.44 billion is needed to help Venezuelans who have fled their native country. However, currently, only 5 percent of this amount is forthcoming. Therefore, the situation is critical for Venezuelans who have fled to neighboring nations. 

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