Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented political and economic crisis, the effects of which are rippling across the hemisphere and beyond. Wracked by hyperinflation, severe food and medicine shortages, soaring crime rates, and an increasingly authoritarian executive, more than 2.7 million Venezuelans—approximately 9 percent of the population—have fled the country in the past four years. Some four hundred thousand have claimed asylum from political persecution and violence, and another million have gained other forms of residency. Hundreds of thousands of others, however, lack legal residency, and with it, access to employment, education, and social services. It is one of the largest and swiftest mass migrations in Latin America’s history, and the United Nations has characterized the situation as a humanitarian crisis [PDF].
Where do migrants go?
Approximately eight out of every ten Venezuelan migrants stay in Latin America and the Caribbean, while most of the remainder settle in North America and Southern Europe. Neighboring Colombia and Peru are the largest recipients of Venezuelans, followed by the United States, Chile, Argentina, and Spain. The intensification of migrant flows has strained the capacity of host countries to provide basic services.