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Session 12

Venezuelan Migrants across the Continent

The current situation in Venezuela is quite concerning, with serious human rights violations in electoral processes, demonstrations, and other realms. Repression is very effective, and people trying to get organized and demonstrate feel discouraged about the possibility of democratic change in this country. Removing political parties has left human rights organizations as the only ones that can get organized and save lives in the midst of repression. The humanitarian response in Venezuela is led by these organizations, which receive very little international cooperation support. In Venezuela, there is a government-generated “opinion matrix” that this country is recovering. However, it is actually bleeding slowly. It is important to stop a new law that could make the work of civil society and human rights in Venezuela illegal, which could be replicated in Nicaragua.

There was a discussion about the need to improve coordination among sectors of society to address the migration situation in Central America, which now receives new groups, such as Venezuelans. It was mentioned that Venezuelan migrants and refugees face a crisis, not having access to documents that allow them to move through the region and adapt to the countries’ migration regulations. Participants highlighted that this is the worst migration crisis at a global level, with 7.2 million Venezuelans in search of better life opportunities. Participants also mentioned the importance of disseminating information about the protection measures offered by countries to take in and integrate migrants and reduce xenophobia. Participants stressed the need to raise citizen awareness to demystify the rights to services and highlighted the importance of local, regional, and international organizations in achieving sustainable impact over time. Finally, participants mentioned that more can be done with philanthropic money than with international cooperation money.

On the other hand, displacement in Venezuela affects not only those that have left this country, but also women and girls that move within Venezuela due to lack of access to health services. In order to tackle this issue, it is essential to get local, regional, and international organizations involved for enhanced coordination and sustainability over time. The specific barriers and needs of women in host countries should be considered, and work should be carried out for structural changes that are sustainable over time. Moreover, it is important to consider that the needs and violence experienced by migrant women and girls are linked to each other. It is essential to finance at a local level, keep an eye on cross-border projects, and understand that change is for the long term and requires time. Institutional financing should be flexible and allow project operation.

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