Argentine president Mauricio Macri in Brasilia expressed full solidarity with the Venezuelan people, called for human rights respect and freedom for the political prisoners held by the regime of president Nicolas Maduro.
I couldn't forget a solidarity message and of support for the Venezuelan people pointed out Macri during the 51st Mercosur summit taking place in the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, hosted by the Brazilian president Michel Temer.
From Mercosur we call for human rights respect and the freedom of political prisoners in Venezuela and expect, hopefully, an electoral calendar which guarantees and free, open, transparent voting, underlined the Argentine president.
Last Tuesday Maduro accused Macri of having committed a crime against the Argentine people, following the congressional debate and approval of the pensions' reform bill, which triggered two days of violent rioting, and attacks on security forces.
Maduro said he felt sorry and saddened regarding events in Buenos Aires, but those excesses also moved him to work even harder for the happiness of the people.
Meantime along the southern border of Venezuela with Brazil, thousands are pouring into northern states such as Roraima seeking to escape economic hardship and high crime rates in their homeland.
At least 125 people died this year in Venezuela, in clashes among government opponents, supporters and police.
As conditions there worsen, nearby countries are struggling with one of the biggest migrations in Latin American history. With limited public services and jobs to offer migrants, Brazilian officials fear a full humanitarian crisis.
George Okoth-Obbo is operations chief for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. He spoke to the Reuters news agency after a recent visit to Boa Vista. He noted, “Shelters are already crowded to their limit. It is a very tough situation.”
Venezuelan government officials do not know exactly how many of its 30 million people have migrated overseas in recent years. Some experts have estimated the number to be as high as 2 million.
Many of the Venezuelans leaving have few skills or financial resources. By migrating, then, they export some of the social problems that Venezuela has struggled to resolve.
Mauricio Santoro is a political scientist at Rio de Janeiro State University. He says, “They’re leaving because of economic, health and public safety problems, but putting a lot of pressure on countries that have their own difficulties.”
International officials are likening the situation in Venezuela to other mass migrations in Latin America’s past, like that of people who fled Haiti after a 2010 earthquake. Thirty years earlier, about 125,000 Cubans attempted to travel by boat to the United States.