HAVANA TIMES – The United Nations Refugee Commissioner Filippo Grandi is among prominent voices to set out the case on Tuesday for plugging a huge funding gap in response to the steadily worsening plight of displaced Venezuelans at a Brussels conference, reported dpa news.
Venezuela is mired in a deep economic and political crisis. An overwhelming majority of the estimated 4.5 million Venezuelans who have fled their country have remained in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
Grandi, along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini among others, is to call at the conference for greater support from the world community, particularly for countries hosting Venezuelans.
So far only 52 per cent of the 738 million dollars requested by the UN for 2019 has been secured, according to Eduardo Stein, joint Venezuela representative for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR.)
In 2020, the number of Venezuelan migrants or refugees is set to reach 6.5 million, Stein said Monday in Brussels, so the need for international solidarity will increase further.
Venezuelans, who face shortages of basic goods including medication in their home country, are vulnerable to increasing levels of xenophobia abroad, he added, as well as abuse and exploitation.
Host communities face a huge strain on their budget and social services, Stein said. International funds could help abate these tensions.
The oil-rich South American country has been shaken by a violent power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro’s government and the opposition, led by Juan Guaido.