Venezuela, 22 de agosto del 2019: Venezuela is currently experiencing one of the most severe hyperinflations in history, public services do not work, national health infrastructure has partially broken down, crime rates are among the highest in the world, and the country is in a state of social, economic, political and institutional crisis. This crisis has motivated thousands of Venezuelans to leave their country in search of a life with dignity, which has led to a migration crisis without precedent in Latin America.

From all corners of the country, people migrate through Táchira State, where unique border dynamics have developed over the last few years. Táchira State in Venezuela shares a border with the department of Norte de Santander in Colombia. Along this border, both formal and informal border crossing points exist. Until 2015, the border between Venezuela and Colombia was open to normal traffic, but since August that year, people have had to cross the border on foot. Whenever the border is closed completely, people cross the border illegally on informal paths (called “trochas” in Spanish). On 21 February 2019, the Venezuelan government closed the border completely, which forced migrants to cross the border illegally during several weeks. Later on, the Venezuelan government then allowed students, individuals in need of medical attention and elderly people to cross the border. At the same time, and in light of the massive migratory flows, the Colombian authorities decided to keep stamping the passports of the thousands of Venezuelans entering the country, even while Venezuelan authorities wouldn’t stamp passports on leaving the country.

In order to investigate and contribute to a better understanding of the current migrant crisis, various Venezuelan institutions joined forces with the aim of carrying out the study Venezuelan Human Mobility II: Realities and Perspectives of Those Who Emigrate (8 April to 5 May 2019) in collaboration with Migración Colombia (Colombia Migration – Colombia's customs agency). These Venezuelan institutions are: Universidad Católica del Táchira (UCAT), Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS Venezuela), Centro Gumilla, Observatorio de Investigaciones Sociales en Frontera (ODISEF), and Universidad Simón Bolívar (UNISIMON – Cúcuta, Colombia).

The target population of the study were the Venezuelans that emigrated between 8 April and 5 May 2019 across the Táchira-Norte de Santander border, crossing the border through formal or informal border crossing points, and had their passport stamped at the La Parada immigration checkpoint in the municipality of Villa del Rosario in Colombia. The sample consisted of 12,957 adult migrants. When the results of this year’s study are compared to last year’s study, it becomes clear that the main structural factors that push people to emigrate are becoming more pronounced every day. The country is struggling with the widespread emigration of young people and educated workers, and families are being separated by the mass migration, with children often being left behind with relatives, which has significant consequences for the affected children and adolescents.

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