Days ahead of the introduction of new immigration laws in Peru, thousands of Venezuelans have hurried to pass the border into the country, with authorities estimating that 6,000 Venezuelan refugees entered the country through neighboring Ecuador on Thursday alone. Under the new laws, Venezuelans need a passport and visa to enter the country in an attempt to escape Venezuela’s political instability and humanitarian crises.
This rush to Peru is a continuation of ongoing emigration from Venezuela, as UN figures report that over 2 million migrants reside in Colombia and Peru alone. The need to escape Venezuela stems from the complete economic collapse of the nation under the government of Nicolás Maduro, current leader of the socialist PSUV party that has governed the oil-rich Latin American country for 20 years. Since Maduro’s narrow victory in the 2013 election, unemployment has combined with severe shortages of electricity, food, and medicine, leaving hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in need of humanitarian aid. While several international voices have argued that this crisis is the result of the incompetence of the socialist regime, Maduro maintains that the shortages are caused by US sanctions and has attempted to refuse the “rotten gift” of international aid into the country.
The crisis in Venezuela was exacerbated when Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president while arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was “illegitimate.” Guaidó’s claim has been recognized by the US and most of Latin America, but China and Russia, along with most of the Venezuelan military, remain loyal to Maduro. As the attempted ouster of Maduro continues with Guaidó working to sway the military to his side, the citizens of Venezuela remain unaided, furthering a refugee crisis whose effects remain felt throughout all of Latin America.
Picture Copyright Nicholas Raymond: http://freestock.ca/flags_maps_g80-venezuela_grunge_flag_p1086.html