Venezuela/Colombia Migrant and Refugee Crisis

Zach Weissman, Staff Writer

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Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.  According to a recent Gallup Poll, 1/3 of the population would like to leave the country.  From their government and the cartel doing business together, to the horribly mismanaged economy, living in Venezuela has become a literal nightmare.

The people of Venezuela are enduring horrible conditions and as a result, they are fleeing to Colombia in order to find work and a steady income.  Among the many crossing the border are  children who don’t have proper identity documents. 

The United States has exasperated this problem because of the sanctions recently placed on the mining in Venezuela. 

Historically, Venezuela and Columbia have been in high states of political tension because of fear of military conflict. According to an article by Al Jazeera, 1.5 million Venezuelan migrants are already on the border of Columbia. Colombia has extended free healthcare to the Venezuelan migrants, and has issued 700,000 work permits for immigrants, but Colombia cannot support all 1.5 million. This has left much of the Venezuelan population in Colombia homeless, or in squalid living conditions.  

Colombia has called for the international community to get more involved, and there is an underlying feeling of resentment from Colombia towards the U.S., because of the aforementioned sanctions on Venezuela. The way the U.S. is handling Venezuela has many parallels to U.S. sanctions in Cuba, which resulted in a decades-long humanitarian crisis. It is crucial that the U.S. doesn’t continue to place embargo, and we as an international community should make sure that Colombia has all the necessary  resources for the refugees and migrants to survive. 

 

Please note an earlier version of this article appeared referring to the people leaving Venezuela as immigrants.  The article should have read refugees.