Latin American and Caribbean Network on Migration, Refuge and Human Trafficking “CLAMOR” In View of the Serious Situation of the Venezuelan Migrants

Latin American and Caribbean Network on Migration, Refuge and Human Trafficking  “CLAMOR”
 A view of the serious situation of the Venezuelan Migrants
“Because I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25,35)
1. The organizations of the Catholic Church that work in the pastoral care of migrants, displaced persons, refugees and victims of human trafficking, united with the support of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) in the CLAMOR Network, express solidarity with the people of Venezuela, a nation currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis characterized by a shortage of medicines and food, the collapse of public services, the world’s highest inflation, overt violence and serious violations of human rights which has result in the deaths of more than a hundred people.

“The cries of my people are heard throughout the country” (Jr. 8,13)
2. The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference has prophetically pointed out: “In our country, there is a clear perception of how violence has acquired a structural character. Their expressions are varied: from irrational repression, with its painful count of dead and wounded, damage to dwellings and residential structures; and persecution, and to the neglect of the basic needs of the people. Official repression sometimes generates violent responses, which contribute to creating a climate of tension and anarchy, with dangerous consequences ” (Urgent Message to Catholics and Men and Women of Good Will.)
3. This situation, which threatens the life and dignity of Venezuelans, has forced thousands of people to leave the country, an unprecedented diaspora in the country’s democratic history. The figures have grown exponentially in the last year:
• In the first quarter of 2015, 9,456 Venezuelan workers entered Colombia, 5,236 more than in 2014. In Argentina, in the first half of 2015, there were 2,772. This number represents a 61.26% change compared to 2014.  Chile stood out with 10,815 visas (student, subject to contract and temporary) granted to Venezuelans from 2005 to 2014.
• In Central America, the National Migration Service of Panama received 2,475 residential permits until May 2016, of which 1,708 were approved. In the last three years, Venezuela has been the country with the most requests presented to the Panamanian agency.
• In northern Brazil, in Boa Vista (Roraima), this year, federal police have received 7,907 requests for refuge from Venezuelans which was up significantly from 2,230 requests last year.
• According to a report by the Asylum Access Foundation, presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the number of Venezuelan migrant population in the last 3 years has reached 2.5 million people. The number of refugee applications for Venezuelans in the region has also increased. According to the UNHCR in the last 5 years there has been a 228% increase in asylum applications worldwide by Venezuelans. Venezuela has gone from being a migrant receiving country, to a sending country.
“Do not oppress the foreigners who dwell among you. Treat them as your fellow citizen, and love them as yourself “(Leviticus 14, 33-34)
4. It is becoming more frequent to see Venezuelans in the streets of our countries, mostly young people, as street vendors, wandering the streets and even begging. The “arepa” is becoming a symbol of the struggle of Venezuelan migrants to make a living.
5. With pain we echo the cry of Venezuelan migrants to denounce that in many countries of transit and destination many people are becoming victims of human trafficking, sexual slavery and labor exploitation, in most cases, because they have no documentation.
6. In the face of such a serious situation, we support the measures taken by the governments of Brazil, Chile, Peru and more recently Colombia, which favor the labor integration of Venezuelans migrants. However, we are concerned by the attitude of several governments that have not yet adopted a welcoming public policy, given the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis that our brothers and sisters face.
7. The Holy Father warned that the “securitization” policies that have been adopted by several countries are erroneously based on “… the fear that there will be convulsions in social peace, that there is a risk of losing identity or culture, which feeds competition in the labor market or even introduces new crime factors “(World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014).
Our call to the governments of the continent is towards openness, not to be indifferent to the suffering of those who have left everything, to build bridges, to build a migration policy as a human response, just and fraternal.

8. We ask all men and women of goodwill, especially the Christians, to welcome our brothers and sisters in solidarity. Let us listen to the cries of the suffering people of Venezuela, promoting the culture of acceptance against the culture of discarding, and let mercy fight against indifference.
We ratify as a Church our commitment to continue accompanying the Venezuelan migrants in the conquest and defense of their fundamental rights, to make their voices heard and to walk with them towards the conquest of a better life.
We pray that the humanitarian crisis that plagues Venezuela, especially the poorest, will be overcome and this brother country will be able to walk the path of peace as a result of social justice, freedom and integral human development.
We ask Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of Latin America to cover the entire Venezuelan people with her protective mantle, especially those who are in a situation of migration.
By the CLAMOR Network
Mons Gustavo Rodríguez Vega
Archbishop of Yucatan
President of DEJUSOL CELAM
Mons José Luis Azuaje
Bishop of Barinas
President of CARITAS
Hna Luz Marina Valencia
General Secretary of CLAR
Organizations of the CLAMOR Network 
– Departamento de Justicia y Solidaridad del Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano
– Secretariado Latinoamericano y Caribeño de CARITAS
– Conferencia Latinoamericana de Religiosos y Religiosas CLAR
– Red Un Grito por la Vida
– Instituto Chileno de Migración
– Instituto de Migraciones y Derechos Humanos de la CNBB
– Departamentos de Movilidad Humana de Conferencias Episcopales de América Latina y El Caribe
– Servicio Jesuita para Refugiados
– Red Jesuitas con Migrantes
– Asociación Latinoamericana de Educación Radiofónica ALER
– Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN)
– Hermanas Scalabrinianas
– Familia Franciscana
– Padres Salesianos
– Hermanas del Buen Pastor
– Hermanas Adoratrices
– Hermanas de San Juan Evangelista