Two of the biggest stories right now in the Western Hemisphere are eliciting starkly different official and popular responses, despite the fact that they are intimately related. When it comes to migration, there is significant attention and a fierce urgency toward taking action, though regrettably the focus of action has been on deterring migrants, rather than dealing with the root causes driving them to leave their homes. Meanwhile, when it comes to Venezuela’s interlocking political, economic and humanitarian crises, there is an unfortunate, albeit reluctant, acceptance of the status quo, with no serious, practical push for change to be seen.
Yet, with over 7 million Venezuelans having fled the country in the past decade due to the Maduro regime’s dereliction, it’s impossible to deal with the first challenge without taking the second more seriously. While the region is shutting borders, deploying militaries to deter migrants and increasingly returning Venezuelans to their home country, solutions to the root causes of the Venezuelan crisis seem increasingly distant.
The situation for Venezuelans fleeing their country is grim at every stage of their journey. Just in the past few months, eight Venezuelan migrants were killed in Texas, while over a dozen others were among the 39 who died in a fire at a migrant facility managed by corrupt contractors in Mexico. More generally, like migrants from every country making their way to the U.S. southern border, they are often extorted and abused by criminal gangs and corrupt police all along the way.