The "world's largest" migrant crisis: more than 6.8 million Venezuelans forced to leave their nation

The estimates do not include the vast number of people living illegally in other countries.

David Smolansky, commissioner of the OAS General Secretariat, assured that Venezuela faces "the largest migrant and refugee crisis in the world (6.8 million), tying Ukraine and surpassing Syria (6.6M)." The widespread crisis plaguing Venezuelans has caused 6,805,209 people to emigrate, 84% of which, live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The figure was published by the Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants (R4V), according to information published this August. This data represents the sum of all refugees, migrants and asylum seekers from Venezuela, reported by host governments and based on the statistical data processing of each Administration. However, many of the official sources do not take into account people without a regular immigration status, so the number of Venezuelan emigrants is clearly higher.


Smolansky explained on Twitter that after doing research, he received the figures that confirmed the information.

According to the World Bank, Venezuela has a population of 28,704,947 people, a figure that is well below the growth forecasts made in previous years. In 2015, Venezuela's National Institute of Statistics (INE) estimated that by 2020 alone, the country would have approximately 32,605,423 inhabitants.

For its part, UNHCR reiterates that "people continue to leave Venezuela in an effort to flee violence, insecurity, threats and a lack of food, medicine and essential services." With more than 6 million refugees and migrants, the UN agency notes that more than 950,000 Venezuelans have become asylum seekers around the world.

An unquantifiable reality

In January of this year, the NGO Hermanos de la Calle reported that 13,500 Venezuelan immigrants enter the United States illegally each month. In 2021 alone, a total of 108,510 Venezuelans crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, this was revealed by , Carlos Vecchio, the ambassador to Washington of the interim government of opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

"Venezuelans take the journey by land, including the Darien crossing, which is extremely dangerous. They also undertake it with children and unfortunately, they are not well informed of the dangers to which they will be exposed," said Patricia Andrade, director of the foundation that helps immigrants, aka, the Venezuela Awareness Foundation. Andrade detailed that in the crossing, migrants travel through eight seperate countries for approximately a month and a half on their way to the United States.

The Darien jungle is a territory located between Colombia and Panama and is controlled by a number of different mafias that capitalize on the flow of migrants. Large numbers of people from different continents and countries try to enter the United States through this lawless place. Cubans, Haitians and, above all, Venezuelans stand out in number. They venture to cross a route where, according to multiple accounts, there are mass physical violations, murders, extortions and humiliations. Added to this, many lose their lives after being swept away by the currents of the river there.

The various routes, destinations and means of travel used by some of the Venezuelan migrants attempting to enter another country illegally make it very difficult to determine the exact number of the exodus at this time.

Venezuelan emigrants in various countries

The majority of Venezuelan migrants are in South America, mostly in Colombia, where there are approximately 2.5 million Venezuelans. Columbia is followed by Peru, with 1.3 million, and Ecuador with more than 502,000. In order, the remaining countries are the United States with more than 460,000, Chile (almost 465,000), Spain (almost 440,000) and Brazil (more than 350,000), according to R4V.

In Central America, the largest Venezuelan immigrant population is found in Panama with more than 144,000 people; Mexico with almost 83,000 and Costa Rica with just over 30,000 people.

Extreme poverty, insecurity, the poor conditions of the Venezuelan healthcare system, police repression and political persecution are some of the reasons why Venezuelans leave their nation. Dictator Nicolás Maduro promises zero extreme poverty by 2025, however, last September, the UCAB reported that, according to the Encovi, more than 94% of Venezuelans live well below the poverty line.