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Venezuelan crisis: irregular migration to the US doubles in 2022

Venezuela, and more in detail its capital Caracas, seem to project a slight improvement in the quality of life of its citizens. It is what the Chavista dictatorship has wanted to show, supported by concerts by international artists, assorted supermarkets and one or another mirage. But behind it there is nothing more than a crisis with millions of people still suffering from hunger due to the extremely poor purchasing power and public services in a state of abandonment.

The truth is that Venezuela did not fix itself. It is far from that. 94.5% of the population is impoverished, according to the latest National Survey of Living Conditions (Encovi). If someone is looking for evidence of the crisis, just look at what is happening on the border between Mexico and the United States. Venezuelans arrive daily en masse after crossing all of Central America and the dangerous Darién jungle – which separates Colombia and Panama – in search of a future far from communism.

The figures back it up. From January to July of this year, 69,950 Venezuelans crossed the southern border of the United States, according to the registry of the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP, in English). This more than doubled the 31,030 registered in the same period in 2021, collapsing the myth that Venezuela “fixed it.”

The number is even higher if the fiscal year is taken into account, the period between October and September that the US authorities take as a reference. There, in fiscal year 2022, 128,556 Venezuelans crossed the southern border of the United States, not counting the two months that are still missing for this cycle to end. By comparison, a year ago 48,678 Venezuelans had crossed during that period.

Reality


An indicator that Chavismo is possibly rejoicing in is that of the supposed growth of the economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that it will be 1.5%, but there are firms such as FocusEconomics or Credit Suisse that project it at 10% and 20%, respectively, by the end of 2022. Additionally, Argentina surpassed the Caribbean nation in terms of inflation, at 7.4% versus 5.3%, providing more material to support the theory that the country has improved.

But it is necessary to go to the bottom of the matter to collapse that thesis, without failing to observe that more and more Venezuelans decide to emigrate to the United States. In just 24 hours, almost 2,000 crossings were registered in the Del Río sector, according to Bill Melugin, a correspondent for Fox News. “The vast majority of people who cross here illegally are Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans, and they are generally not subject to Title 42 because Mexico will not accept them back and neither will their countries of origin,” he reported.

Now, the “economic rebound” has weak foundations. Oil production stagnated at 700,000 barrels per day while almost 30% of the economy is based on illicit activities and the receipt of remittances, Ecoanalítica said.

There is no production, nor infrastructure to carry it out. And with respect to that, there are additional interesting remarks. Only 29% of the national electrical capacity is operational, according to the Hum Venezuela platform. In levels of corruption, it ranks 177th out of 180 in Transparency International and 139th in respect for the law, the last place documented by the World Justice Project. In this regard, the newspaper El País made an interesting statement. The true recovery of Venezuela happens by doing the homework, “and that implies creating the right conditions to attract investment, which in turn translates into higher levels of productivity.”

The “boom” of migration to the US


So, Venezuela was not fixed. Not even because concert tickets are advertised with amounts exceeding $7,000 for a table of 10 people. With artists forgetting their criticism of communism and returning to the country to support the supposed improvement of its economy.

Videos arriving from the US border show Venezuelans in the rain intending to turn themselves in to border patrol and begin their asylum process there. Most are single adults. In total, from January to July 2022 these represented 45,991 crossings. People arriving as a family accounted for 23,507 crossings in the same period.

The “boom” of irregular Venezuelan migration to the US began in February 2021, when Nicolás Maduro celebrated that the country had come out of hyperinflation after four years, according to the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV). That did not matter, the citizens saw how the money and the quality of life vanished between his fingers, especially the poorest. As is still the case today with a minimum wage equivalent to about 21 dollars.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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