Immigration to Uruguay, Argentina and Chile has exploded exponentially in recent years. It is receiving an “unprecedented” daily requests for refuge in the southern country, according to the Director of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dianela Pi, who explained to MercoPress that “There are acts of discrimination and xenophobia that are emerging in Uruguay as never before” as a result of the migratory phenomenon. This wave comes mostly from citizens of Venezuelan origin.
The Secretariat of the Refugee Commission is completely overwhelmed, Pi explained in a meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan community residing in Uruguay last Tuesday. However, refuge requests come from migrants of mainly Cuban origin. Since -for migration agreements in Mercosur- for Venezuelans, due their documentation, there are certain rights such as access to public health and education and advantages for obtaining permanent residence in front of their Caribbean counterparts.
The director of Human Rights notes that programs are being developed at a state level to raise awareness among the population on the issue of foreigners and to show immigration as a positive issue.
One of the Venezuelan representatives present at the meeting pointed out that in many jobs more and more Venezuelans are showing up, which causes the impression among some sectors of Uruguayan society of representing an economic threat.
We are working in the field of the honorary commission of discrimination and in conjunction with the human rights secretary of the presidency, explained Pi; highlighting that These are issues that are being working in to address what we are finding now.
At the meeting, the representatives of the Venezuelan community extended a letter to the Foreign Ministry with the interest of protecting the Human Rights of all Venezuelans, inside and outside Venezuela, based on what the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights demands.
With an inflation that will reach 13,000% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the exodus of Venezuelans is quickly dispersed throughout the region; There are already 82,000 Venezuelans residing in Uruguay; 220,000 in Argentina and 125,000 in Peru, according to a study by the Foreign Policy Commission of the National Assembly of Venezuela. For the deputy Rafael Ramírez, it is a common code for the receiving countries so that they can understand that there is a real crisis in Venezuela, and thus be able to punish the Venezuelan government, which denies this migration crisis.
This is a problem for countries that are not accustomed to being recipients of immigrants and whose labor markets are sensitive to a phenomenon of this type. ”Uruguay was an expelling country and now a recipient country. Surely in our case we are not (prepared) because in recent years our migratory profile has changed, added Dianela Pi. However, for the Minister Uruguay is a country with a law that respects the rights of migrants, which respects the right to free movement.
This process is causing emigration of Venezuelans from lower socio-economic positions than the ones presented by the firsts migrants a few years ago, when the economic crisis in Venezuela was beginning to be a major problem. Many of those who are arriving (to Uruguay) had never left their city,” says the opposition leader of Voluntad Popular exiled in Uruguay, Samuel Petit. Who was kidnapped and tortured by the Venezuelan army in the middle of last year's wave of protests in the state of Bolívar, southern Venezuela.
The meeting was held after the 48th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, in which a resolution was adopted that ignores the legitimacy of the May 20 elections in which Nicolás Maduro was re-elected. With 19 votes in favor, 4 votes against and 11 abstentions, including those of Nicaragua, Uruguay and Ecuador.The support of 24 countries was not obtained to begin the process of suspension of Venezuela from the OAS, but the opaque elections, the dispossession of the legislative powers of the National Assembly, the existence of hundreds of political prisoners and the impediment of the humanitarian aid income were shown once more among the international community.