Eight Latin American countries committed Friday in Quito to seek mechanisms for regularizing the legal status of Venezuelan migrants, despite the difficulties they face due to a lack of travel documents.
Of the 13 countries that participated in the second regional meeting on Venezuelan migration, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay signed the so-called regional “Plan of Action.”
The document states that initiatives will be strengthened “for an adequate economic and social insertion of Venezuelan nationals, which includes migratory normalization processes according to the possibilities and legislation of each host country.”
[Editor’s note: Regularization creates a method by which migrants can legalize their status in a new country.]
Brazil and Mexico expressed their support for the resolution but did not sign it, arguing that they are going through a change of government. Panama said it will make consultations on the subject.
Guatemala and the Dominican Republic were at the meeting, but they too did not sign the document.
Santiago Chávez, Ecuadorian Deputy Minister of Human Mobility, considered it essential that Venezuelans fleeing the serious economic and political crisis in their country take with them travel documents in order to access health, education, work and housing in other nations.
“We are insisting precisely that Venezuela has to fulfill its obligation to document its citizens,” Chávez said at a press conference.
The official said that Eduardo Stein, special envoy of the UN for Venezuelan refugees, will have a “preponderant role” to open a dialogue with the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who is reluctant to recognize the migratory crisis.
According to UN figures, since 2015 at least 2.3 million people have left Venezuela. Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are the main recipients of Venezuelan migrants, who escape the shortage of food and medicine, and the inflation facing the oil nation.
At the opening of the meeting, whose third edition will be held in March 2019, the countries expressed their urgency to obtain financing to assist Venezuelan migrants.
In this regard, Chávez indicated that each country is establishing “its own initiatives to try to obtain funds that serve to finance the arrival of Venezuelan citizens.”
The vice minister said that Ecuador needs at least $550 million to serve Venezuelans who are in its territory. Next Friday, it will hold a meeting with potential donors and have invited countries from the European Union, the United States, Japan and Qatar, among others.
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