From President Nicolás Maduro down, most of PSUV leaders state that Venezuelan migration is not as it is portrayed: that it is minimal, simply a fashion, a “stupid” campaign used instrumentally to attack the Bolivarian Revolution .
By Supuesto Negado – Jan. 23, 2020
While the official numbers of Acnur count the recent migration in more than 4 million 600 thousand Venezuelans (to November 5, 2019), the local government maintains that this figure is unlikely.
Although Chavismo in Miraflores hasn’t referred to the subject for months, at the beginning of 2019 its own account barely reached 700 thousand people. President Maduro [used that number] and it was repeated by the VP, Delcy Rodríguez , and her brother, the minister of communication, Jorge Rodríguez, on several occasions.
In fact, in August of that year, the head of the communications portfolio made a press conference to explain that the migration of Venezuelans is used in a “barbaric, criminal and xenophobic” fashion by Colombia and Peru.
During his presentation, he showed figures of the number of foreigners who at that time lived in Venezuela and benefited from free social programs.
“In the Homeland of Bolivar there are 5 million 600 thousand Colombians, 500 thousand Ecuadorians, 500 thousand Peruvians, 400 thousand Portuguese, 250 thousand Italians, 200 thousand Spaniards, one million Arabs (from Syria, Libya, Palestine) and more than 500 thousand Chinese,” he said.
Está de más recordarle a ACNUR que su mandato se circunscribe a REFUGIAD@S. Tratar de obtener recursos utilizando la migración económica y confundiendo a la opinión pública, no sólo escapa de su mandato, sino que devela una clara estrategia política intervencionista
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) June 10, 2019
Migrating because it’s trendy?
Venezuelan migration was initially widely disseminated in a catastrophic tone and without contextualizing the reasons – essentially economic – but over the months the issue has lost presence in the media and in the speeches of anti-Chavista politicians.
“You have to see what the campaign against Venezuela is. I call it stupid because they want to impose a migration crisis to justify intervention by military means,” said President Maduro.
For his part, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that the strategy of right-wing governments in the region to criminalize and instrumentalize Venezuelan migration to evade their political and economic responsibilities “is so vulgar, brazen and in violation of human rights, that even the biased BBC denounces it. ”
Also the Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, referred in his Twitter account (in July 2019) to migration, but to denounce xenophobia : “This is how Venezuelans are treated abroad: persecuted and humiliated. Exposed to public derision after millions of Peruvians, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Panamanians, etc., settled their families and accumulated wealth in Venezuela.”
#VIDEO que refleja la xenofobia más infame .. así son tratados los venezolan@s en Perú y el extranjero: perseguidos y humillados … expuestos al escarnio público: luego que millones de peruanos, colombianos, ecuatorianos, panameños etc hicieron familia y riqueza en Venezuela .. pic.twitter.com/7jaRLLBrRp
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) July 14, 2019
Also, Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly, said during the Third Youth Congress of the PSUV that Venezuelans who have emigrated in recent years did so for “fashion” and because “it seemed that it gave status” to have members of the family abroad.
According to Cabello, those who emigrated were influenced by “a great plan of mental destabilization created by the right”.
The always controversial minister of prison services, Iris Varela, said in a state television program that those who left Venezuela are “frustrated by the guarimbas” and “hopefully never return.”
Payment for taking care of foreigners
At the beginning of 2019, when the media of the whole planet spread again and again the “humanitarian crisis” and the massive “Venezuelan exodus”, in Miraflores they insisted on reminding the world that Venezuela was historically a country receiving migrants.
“More than 3 billion dollars represents health, education, food, gas, electricity, gasoline services, for the more than 6 and a half million Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian migrants who are in Venezuela,” said Minister Jorge Rodríguez in a press conference.
In those same days, President Maduro decided to sue the Colombian government to demand compensation in dollars (so far, nothing has been published around this alleged complaint).
He also announced that he would request 500 million dollars from the former Vice President of Guatemala, Eduardo Stein – named UN special representative for refugees and migrants from Venezuela – for the repatriation of Venezuelan migrants who decide to return through the Vuelta a la Patria program.
This “return to the homeland” plan offers the opportunity, for those who want to return and do not have the financial means, to take a free plane sponsored by the state. There are no necessary requirements to get on one of these flights, except to be Venezuelan and want to return.
According to data published by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, more than 16,000 citizens have returned and “the waiting list only grows.” The reasons for the return are diverse: Lack of real opportunities, precariousness and prevailing xenophobia.
The country from which more Venezuelans have returned is Brazil, followed by Peru and Ecuador. Since its launch, the program has operated 86 flights.
Invisibilization vs. Stridency
While it is true that the Venezuelan government has publicly belittled the worrying migration, its neighboring countries and the hegemonic communication platforms have done the opposite: they do not differentiate between economic migrants, refugees and asylees, and their discursive treatment is characterized by being plagued by stereotypes that cause fear or rejection in the receiving community.
According to Huellas del Sur (Footprints of the South), an interdisciplinary team that studies the current Venezuelan migration phenomenon, an important percentage of coverage is concentrated in three types of stories: That of the crimes committed by some of the newcomers, that of the overcoming of the migrant who arrived with nothing, got a job and, is now well established, sends remittances to his country; or the sentimental story – but almost always empty of content – of those who “run away from Chavismo.”
Alejandro Ordóñez (embajador de Colombia en la OEA) dijo hoy en la OEA que la “migración” de Venezuela es “parte de la estrategia” para “irradiar en la región el socialismo del Siglo XXI”
No se puede creer.
— José Miguel Vivanco (@JMVivancoHRW) May 2, 2019
The truth is the truth even if it is sayid by “your enemy”
It is irrefutable that the political actors in the current Venezuelan crisis promote, through their means, accommodative speeches to implement migration in their favor.
The neighboring governments and those inimical to Miraflores, while denouncing the “dictatorship” and the “humanitarian crisis” (at the begining promoted the migration and now) close their borders and impose more and more entry requirements for migrants who themselves describe as refugees and who, according to their statements, run away looking for food and freedom.
It is important to highlight the attempt of these countries to position “humanitarian” action as an excuse to get millions of dollars from multilateral organizations and NGOs. According to Acnur, $ 158.2 million was needed to address the situation in 2019.
Meanwhile and in parallel, the government of Nicolás Maduro argues that the figure is not alarming and those who have left the country have done so “victims of the 350 coercive measures (sanctions) that the United States has applied against Venezuela.”
While reds, blues and yellows point to each other accusing themselves of being the cause of migration, hundreds of Venezuelans cross national borders daily in search of better life opportunities.
And for them the escalation of complaints, meetings, declarations and agreements have no impact.
For them and their families, a regional migration policy is urgent – of course, with the Venezuelan government included – in line with the concern that governments say they have.
Translated by JRE/EF