A promising conference for Venezuelan refugees led by Canada today raised about $ 1.55 billion in grants and loans to help countries dealing with the world’s largest post-Syria displacement crisis.
International Development Minister Karina Gould chaired the conference, which saw countries from Asia, Europe and the Americas announce what they were prepared to donate or borrow to meet the high cost of Venezuela food and housing they attended in a major exodus from the country under the current government. of Nicolas Maduro.
Nearly six million Venezuelans have fled their homeland in recent years, fleeing chaos and hardship. About 4.6 million of them live elsewhere in Latin America.
The total collected was less than last year, when governments contributed $ 2.79 billion. But more of the money raised this year came in the form of beneficiaries than $ 954 million in loans, compared to $ 653 million in 2020.
It is not yet clear how the money will be distributed. Some donors have requested that it be used in specific ways or in specific locations.
Countries with the highest number of Venezuelan refugees include Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. Many of these countries have experienced particularly deadly COVID epidemics. Peru has recorded the highest number of deaths per capita from COVID-19 in the world.
COVIDmerr Latin America
Most Latin American countries have allowed Venezuelan migrants access to their national health systems during the coronavirus pandemic. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) says that if they had not done so, they would have encouraged the spread of the virus to their populations.
Instead of running their own programs to vaccinate migrants and refugees, international bodies such as PAHO and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees have preferred to donate money to governments to help cover costs including non-vaccinated migrants Theirs.
But in many parts of South America (Chile is a notable exception), few vaccines are available to either citizens or not. Only about 3 percent of people in the region have been fully vaccinated and the pandemic has hit the continent more than any other.
Latin America and the Caribbean have registered over a million Death by covid. This is more than a quarter of the total deaths in the world in a region with only 8 percent of the world’s population.
Little or no displacement
“We are encouraged that the Government of Canada is raising new commitments for the millions of Venezuelans who have been forced to leave their homes, and yet this mass exodus remains an under-reported and unfunded opinion,” said Michael Messenger, president & CEO of World Vision Canada.
Venezuelan activists have criticized Canada in the past for accepting a very low number of refugees (and Venezuelan generals) into the country.
Venezuelans face a very high rejection rate when applying for visas to travel to Canada. This includes Venezuelans who have relatives in Canada who have been invited to study in the country and those who can demonstrate sufficient funding.
Venezuelan pro-migrant activist Alessa Polga talks about the politically-active Venezuelan situation in Colombia, and especially family members of officers who have left the Venezuelan army and the National Guard have been arrested for opposition activities.
She said those people are at risk in Colombia, where they are subject to threats and intimidation from Venezuelan regime bodies such as the secret police organization SEBIN.
US President Joe Biden in March signed an order extending temporary protection about 300,000 Venezuelans in the United States.
Canadian officials say the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has not referred a large number of refugee issues to Canada.
Nothing allows the Canadian government to unilaterally place Venezuelans in the country, as it did for Syrian refugees in 2016.
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