Up to 10 million Venezuelans could leave their homeland over the next four years fleeing socialism, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) said in an interview published Wednesday.
In an interview with El Nuevo Herald, Luis Almagro said that the figure could reach ten million people. The Brookings Institute made a similar estimate of 8.2 million Venezuelan refugees during the same timeframe in a study released this week.
“I think it may fall short considering the size of the crisis that Venezuela is experiencing,” Almagro said. “It can reach up to 10 million Venezuelans who have to leave the country in the next four years.”
In a Twitter post, the Uruguayan also urged the international community to protect Venezuelan refugees.
“The international community must take responsibility for protecting the people of Venezuela, not only in exile, but in their own country,” he wrote on Wednesday.
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) December 26, 2018
Almagro’s comments were in relation to the recent Brookings Institute study, which examined a range of possible outcomes to determine how many Venezuelans will migrate including projected oil production, the price of oil, and inflows of other sources of foreign resources such as remittances.
Malnutrition is undoubtedly the most important factor in the migration crisis. Venezuela’s socialist-run economy has experienced years of mass shortages of food and other basic living resources such as medicine, power, and sanitary products.
Although constantly fluctuating, the country’s monthly minimum wage is equivalent to roughly a few dollars a month, leaving most people unable to afford food products. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, around 80 percent of Venezuelans are now short of food, while the collapse of the country’s healthcare system leading to a drastic rise in practically every major health condition from malaria to tuberculosis.
“The current situation in Venezuela is so critical that all available resources flowing into the country are simply not enough to import all the necessary food to complement the basic nutritional needs of those citizens living under the poverty line,” the study reads. “We estimate that people whose minimum caloric needs cannot be met under these dynamics will eventually be forced to migrate.”
“Our calculation includes the 3 million Venezuelans already outside the country,” the study concludes. “If this happens, the Venezuelan tragedy would eventually surpass the Syrian refugee crisis.”