Economic collapse, human rights violations, a breakdown of public services, widespread violence, and a lack of food, water and medicine have caused a mass exodus of Venezuelans –The largest in Latin American and Caribbean history.  

Venezuela Displacement Crisis

Over 5 million Venezuelans have already fled to neighboring countries Latin America and the Caribbean. Everyday, approximately 2,000 people a day flee the country. 

More women and children are replacing men on the roads. As the Venezuelan economy lies in freefall, the number of families fleeing Venezuela is rapidly accelerating. 

Since 2014, the number of Venezuelans applying for refugee status has increased 8,000%. 

Migrant women and are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Of Venezuelan migrant women surveyed35% reported experiences of physical violence, 25% verbal violence, 11% psychological violence and 10% sexual violence. 

The Venezuelan Response is largely underfunded. Based on 2020 figures, total funding per refugee amounts to $3,150 per Syrian, $1,390 per South Sudanese, and just $265 per Venezuelan. 

The COVID -19 pandemic has strained neighboring countries’ financial, technical and organizational resources, threatening their capacity to receive Venezuelan migrants.

Multisectoral collaboration is required to meet the growing needs of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.

IOM’s Response  

IOM and UNHCR co-lead the Regional Platform for Interagency Coordination for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V) that facilitates interagency coordination across 200+ organizations to respond to the crisis.  

RV4 focuses on addressing the need for emergency humanitarian assistance in the areas of health, shelter, food, water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as access to education, protection, and integration (RMRP 2021). 

Socioeconomic Integration

Integrating Venezuelan migrants into their host communities through entrepreneurship and job training.

To strengthen local communities and the migrants within them, USA for IOM launched a regional program to integrate Venezuelan migrants in Latin America. With the financial support of Citi Foundation, USA for IOM identified gaps in labor demand in host countries and empowered migrants to fill them with skills training and tools for entrepreneurship 

By improving the economy and local livelihoods of host countries, Venezuelan migrants become agents of local development, combating xenophobia in the process. 

For more information, visit this link. 

Podcast: “What Can the Private Sector

Do to Help Venezuela?”

Maria Moreno, Head of Private Sector Engagement and Head of Operations at USA for IOM, sits down with Moises Rendon to talk about the private sector’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Working with CSIS, IOM is bringing its operational expertise to inform the international policy making community of Venezuela’s rapidly evolving political, economic, and humanitarian landscape. 

Listen to the full conversation.  

The conditions that Venezuelans face daily aren’t much different than modern warzones.”  

[Migrants] have a need for security, to be able to say look, I’m going to start a business here–– to be able to feed my family.” 

“The arrival of COVID-19 presents an additional challenge of unforeseeable magnitude. Putting health and social welfare systems to the test as well as the countries’ own ability to maintain an inclusive society.”  

Virtual Briefing: “Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants: COVID-19, Multilateral Aid and the Role of the Private Sector”

“This problem, for the foreseeable future, can only get worse. … We are doing as much as we can, and we are very grateful for all the resources we have received. But we have a huge global crisis on our hands that will continue to impact the entire Western Hemisphere.”

 – Ambassador of Colombia to the USA Francisco Santos 

USA for IOM, the Embassy of Colombia in the US, and Citi Foundation cohosted a briefing call on IOM’s regional response to migration from Venezuela in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of the private sector.  

This call was part of a series to provide real-time updates on the challenges the pandemic posed for Venezuelan migrants and IOM’s work with governments to ensure that migrants are taken into consideration in COVID-19 planning and response.