More than 203,000 Venezuelans have registered in Colombia as migrants. Of these, there are 48.164 minors and 17,255 that belong to certain ethnic groups, including Amerindians and Afro-Venezuelans. The census of the migrants, which was registered by the Colombian government’s Administrative Registry of Venezuelan Migrants, began on April 6 and will continue into June.

According to an official release, only 2,768 of the Venezuelans have been registered in Colombia’s health system, of which 825 are minors. 52,549 are self-employed, 46,888 are independent, 34,935 are unemployed, 16,737 are homemakers, 2,144 are employed, and another 36,028 did not report their work or employment status. Of the more than 200,000 Venezuelans who have entered since early April, 3,914 are pregnant women.

Thousands of Venezuelans have fled to neighboring countries in South America while Venezuela’s economy continues to tank. Food and other basic necessities are scarce, inflation has skyrocketed, and government security forces are increasingly heavy-handed in the oil-rich nation. President Nicolas Maduro has shown little sign of modifying the course of his so-called Bolivarian Revolution, which was started by his now deceased predecessor, Hugo Chavez. 

The following states in Venezuela have provided the majority of the migrants: Zulia (72,679), Carabobo (19,445), Táchira (15,050), Lara (14,132), Falcón (11,614) and the Caracas federal district (11,138). According to office of Colombia’s president, 18,613 plan to return to Venezuela while 181,157 will stay in Colombia. The provinces in Colombia that have received the majority of the Venezuelans entering the country are on the border with Venezuela: Santander (48,393) and La Guajira (44,472). These were followed by Colombia’s capital Bogotá (20,584), Arauca (19,080), and Magdalena (13,340).

Colombian authorities have put into place 753 RAMV contact points in 27 of the country’s provinces and 188 local jurisdictions. Each of these are supported by the United Nations, as well as Colombian government agencies. There are also eight mobile units to respond to the wave of Venezuelan migrants in the Colombian provinces of Norte de Santander, La Guajira, Arauca, Magdalena, and Bolívar, which are going into the remote areas where Venezuelans have fled their home country. 
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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