The year 2022 was, as previous ones, eventful, with major focos de crisis (crisis points) happening throughout the year. It is crucial we document our migration history, so here are the critical milestones for the year that just ended.
- As of January 21, 2022, Mexico decided to request Venezuelans obtain a Visa before arriving in the country, thereby limiting the number of Venezuelans seeking to arrive in the US via Mexico.
- A 7-year-old girl child was swept away by the current and drowned in the Rio Grande as she and her mother attempted to cross the border between Mexico and the United States irregularly.
- A 47-year-old migrant man died in the northern part of Chile after having walked through 5 countries escaping Venezuela.
- A Venezuelan vessel carrying Venezuelan migrants and refugees seeking to arrive in Trinidad and Tobago was intercepted by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard when it entered its maritime territory. According to the Coast Guard, a mother and her infant were wounded during the incident. The baby tragically died.
- As of February 21, 2022, Costa Rica implemented a visa requirement for Venezuelans wanting to move to that nation. By February 2022, there were about 40,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees in that country. With this visa requirement coming into force, all Central American nations now require visas for Venezuelans.
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine initiated a new forced displacement crisis that now competes with the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis for attention and resources. Both are a result of an attack on democracy and human rights.
- The number of Venezuelans crossing the Darien Gap soared. According to statistics from Panamanian authorities, in the first two months of 2022 some 2,500 Venezuelans reached the country on foot, almost reaching the total for 2021 (2,819).
- Another Venezuelan migrant, an elderly woman, died in the north of Chile.
- By March, the top three forced displacement crises are Syria’s (6.7 million), Venezuela’s (6.1 million), and Ukraine’s (3.9 millions).
- The number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees reached 6.2 million.
- Nearly 7,000 Venezuelan refugees have crossed the Darién Jungle in 2022, surpassing Cubans and Haitians, who used to be the frequent users of that route, according to the National Migration Service of Panama.
- Already 1 million Venezuelans have received the Estatuto de Protección Temporal para Venezolanos (EPTV) in Colombia. Another 800,000 migrants are expected to also apply.
- Ecuador approved a massive regularization process for Venezuelans, with the “Exception Temporary Residence Visa for Venezuelan Citizens (VIRTE)”.
- At the Summit of the Americas, 21 countries signed the Declaration of Los Angeles on Migration and Protection, which spells out regional cooperation mechanisms to create conditions for safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration and strengthen frameworks for international protection.
- The U.S. extended the date for Venezuelans to apply for the TPS but it continued to be for those who had arrived before March 8th, 2020.
- From January to May it was estimated that 17,262 Venezuelan migrants and refugees crossed the Darien gap. The crisis starts to be extensively covered by most media outlets.
- 15 Venezuelans heading to the U.S. died in an accident in Nicaragua.
- Venezuela’s became the world’s largest migrant and refugee crisis (with 6.8 million people), tying Ukraine’s and surpassing Syria’s.
- Caraqueña comedian Joanna Hausmann, head writer and co-producer of the animated series Hamster and Gretel, incorporated the first animated Venezuelan-American family on an American TV show.
- Venezuelan migrants and refugees are sent from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in two charter planes that arrived unexpectedly, requiring the island in Northern U.S. to quickly provide shelter, food, legal services, and other resources to the migrants. A public battle on managing these arrivals ensued amongst the US political class.
- The US approved the extension of the Designation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status, effective on September 10, 2022, to remain in effect for 18 months, through March 10, 2024.
- A devastating report from the UN Fact-Finding Mission was presented at the United Nations. The report once again established the perverse, and inhumane practices against innocent Venezuelans.
- On October 7, with 19 votes in favor, UN resolution A/HRC/51/L.41 on the situation of Human Rights in Venezuela was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. With this, the mandate of the Venezuelan Fact-Finding Mission was extended for an additional two years, requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to monitor the situation of human rights in the country and report on it.
- The Venezuelan migration crisis reached 7.1 million exiles, surpassing that of Ukraine.
- In light of the increase of Venezuelans arriving at the border, the U.S. implemented humanitarian parole for Venezuelans, a legal path that would allow 24,000 Venezuelans to come to the U.S. with a sponsor regularly, and that will return those who cross the border irregularly to Mexico. Those who crossed Panama irregularly will also be returned.
- From January to October, 147,557 Venezuelan migrants crossed the Darien Gap, 72% of the total.
- A United States federal judge rejected Title 42, which expels migrants for public health reasons to Mexico. Thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees have been expelled under this title, and the numbers continue.
- UNHCR and IOM launch the January 2023 – December 2024 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) mapping needs to respond to the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis.
- By December 12, 2022, 7.1 million Venezuelans had already left the country to find opportunities, social mobility, democracy, and access to basic human rights in other countries.
The needs of receiving countries will continue to increase, as well as the need for real social inclusion of these arrivals. Unfortunately in 2022, the group of countries that had previously organized Donor Conferences to collect funding (albeit limited) to respond to the Venezuelan migration crisis did not propose a new one. As could be understood, funding efforts were geared towards responding to the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the long run, the displacement of Venezuelans will likely continue in 2023 unless the root causes are resolved, and therefore the need for support to receiving countries, and Venezuelans themselves will continue.
* Opinions are personal. They do not represent those of the Organization of American States.
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