Colombian President Ivan Duque didn’t go as far as to call it an international scandal when the press asked him about the miserly amount of foreign aid Colombia has received for taking in 1.8 million Venezuelan refugees.
But that’s exactly what this lack of international solidarity is — a scandal. The number of Venezuelans who have fled from their country’s in recent years is nearing the size of the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey that made world headlines a few years ago.
But while the international community has donated about $2,000 per Syrian refugee, it has only contributed $200 per Venezuelan refugee, Duque told me in an interview this week. He said his figures came from a 2019 report from the Organization of American States.
In Syria, we saw a huge mobilization of the international donor community,” Duque said. But, in the case of the Venezuelan refugee crisis, that hasn’t happened. Colombia has had to pay for 90% of the costs associated with admitting the refugees.
Duque took the bold step this month of announcing that he will give residency papers to almost 1 million of these refugees, bringing to 1.8 million the number of legalized Venezuelan migrants in Colombia.
This means that the vast majority of Venezuelans who have sought shelter in his country will be able to get better jobs and have easier access to healthcare and education services.
According to Brookings Institution’, Syrian refugees have received international aid totaling about $3,000 per refugee, while Venezuelans have received or have been promised about $800 per refugee.
While 5.4 million Syrians were forced to migrate from their country to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, nearly the same number of Venezuelans have fled for Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and other Latin American countries, as well as the USA and Spain, according to the United Nations.
Miami Herald / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2021.