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Message of the Secretary General on Venezuela

  April 20, 2018

The Venezuelan people are today experiencing an involuntary exodus, forced upon them by the growing economic and institutional degradation of the country.

The data speaks for itself. According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2015 some 698,000 Venezuelans lived outside of Venezuela. At the end of 2017, there were already 1.6 million. It is very likely that this situation will worsen if the fraudulent elections of May 20 are finally held and, as expected, consolidate the dictatorial power of the current regime.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) already estimates that this year the figure could more than double, even surpassing 3 million people, 10 percent of the total Venezuelan population.

This is already a humanitarian crisis of proportions never seen before in the Americas. It is a moral obligation of all the rest to help the Venezuelan brothers and sisters in this aspect as well.

We know that migrating is not an easy process. That is why we support UNHCR's efforts to promote the protection of and assistance to Venezuelan refugees.

That is why we also applaud initiatives of other Venezuelans outside their country, such as the Tú País Foundation and the CDEI Foundation to create a space for migrants to adapt in the best possible way to their new situation.

At the OAS we are working on several initiatives. We are supporting a refugee resettlement program in cities in the interior of Brazil, analyzing legal regularization options in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Likewise, we are developing a guide for those who migrate by bus to the south and preparing a study on how support initiatives from different countries can be complemented.

Know that you are not alone. We know what Venezuelan migrants are suffering. I want to convey to you all my solidarity and support for the drama you are experiencing and the forced exodus that many are going through.

Reference: S-013/18