Summary of The Venezuelan Refugee Crisis Is Not Just a Regional Problem

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Around 5.4 million refugees are projected to have fled Venezuela by the end of 2019 – yet the international response to address the crisis has so far been weak. Cynthia J. Arnson, the Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program, makes a passionate plea for addressing the crisis, noting that the growing humanitarian crisis is taking a toll on Venezuela’s neighbors that the international community will soon no longer be able to ignore. Her entreaty is essential reading for all with an interest in the region.

About the Author

Cynthia J. Arnson is Director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center.


Millions of Venezuelans are fleeing their crisis-torn nation, making it Latin America’s worst-ever refugee crisis – taking a heavy toll on migrant-receiving states.

As of July 2019, around four million Venezuelans – representing 12 percent of Venezuela’s population – have fled economic collapse and political repression in their home country. By the end of 2019, the number of Venezuelan refugees will likely climb to over 5.4 million.

Neighboring Colombia has so far borne the brunt of the exodus, receiving 1.3 million refugees and allowing an additional 710,000 to travel through its territory. Peru has taken in over 800,000 so far. Recipient countries are increasingly struggling to provide food and shelter, as well as medical assistance and employment, to the mounting numbers of incoming refugees.

Colombia has so ...

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