Silent Arrival: Thousands of Venezuelans leaving for Colombia

World Today

Silent Arrival Thousands of Venezuelans leaving for Colombia

A representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Colombia has warned of a silent arrival of Venezuelans to the country. The official blamed shortages and the humanitarian situation that Venezuela faces.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Silent Arrival: Thousands of Venezuelans leaving for Colombia

Silent Arrival: Thousands of Venezuelans leaving for Colombia

A representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Colombia has warned of a silent arrival of Venezuelans to the country. The official blamed shortages and the humanitarian situation that Venezuela faces. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Born in Caracas, Gioconda Diaz made the tough decision four months ago to leave Venezuela as she said in the last year things have gotten worse.

She is living in Bogot now with her five children. Her eldest child crossed the border on the weekend of July 16, when the Venezuelan government temporarily opened the border with Colombia to allow citizens to buy food and medicine that unavailable in their home country.

Those who stay can come to places like the Association of Venezuelans in Colombia – known as Asocvencol where they can receive medical and legal support.

The United Nations Agency for Refugees has called this a silent arrival of Venezuelan citizens who stayed in Colombia with an irregular status. The agency said the recent request for asylum has climbed significantly.

Officials at Asocvencol told us the exodus of Venezuelans dates back to 2003 when the government fired an estimated 18,000 oil workers who went on strike.

Diaz said she has felt welcome in Colombia but continues to dream of returning to her country.

It is hard to know the exact number of Venezuelans in Colombia because not everyone reports their legal status.

The Colombian Foreign ministry says in 2015 almost 330,000 Venezuelans migrated there. Asocvencol said according to their estimates, the number could be as high as a million.

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