Reporting on the Venezuelan experience in the Caribbean


WikiTribune will be reporting on the situation of some of the tens of thousands of Venezuelans who have settled in the southern Caribbean – particularly Trinidad and Tobago, Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire – over the past few years as the South American country grapples with a faltering economy and political insecurity.

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According to an United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) March 2018 report, an estimated 100,000 Venezuelans “of concern” were living in the Southern Caribbean at the end of 2017.

An estimated 40,000 Venezuelans are living in Trinidad and Tobago, according to the UNHCR. More than 50,000 are living in Aruba, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Curaçao, and Suriname.

The UNHCR report notes: “Several countries in the Caribbean are hosting rapidly increasing numbers of Venezuelan people of concern. Considering the small size and limited absorption capacity of the concerned countries, the influx has particularly impacted these host nations.”

WikiTribune spoke to three human rights and migration NGOs that said that Venezuelans moving to these islands are facing increasing levels of discrimination and persecution.

Venezuela’s GDP has halved since 2013, according to Alejandro Werner, director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country also has the world’s highest rate of inflation (Forbes), which has wiped out Venezuelans’ purchasing power. Venezuela remains one of the most violent countries in the world, with an estimated 26,616 violent deaths in 2017, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, an NGO that partners with local universities to monitor violence statistics in Venezuela.

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Demonstration in Venezuela, 2014. Source:The Photographer/Wikimedia

Questions

For Venezuelan migrants and refugees:

  1. Why did you leave Venezuela?
  2. When and how did you leave?
  3. Are you planning on going back? If so, when?
  4. Why did you choose [insert country]?
  5. How have you found the country/territory?
  6. Have you had any trouble integrating?
  7. Have the authorities been helpful?
  8. Do you send remittances back to Venezuela? How much?
  9. Before coming here, what was your impression of the country? How has that changed since your arrival?

Migration-oriented:

  1. What are the migration laws like in [complete country]?
  2. Besides the deportation of 82 Venezuelans (Amnesty, in Spanish) from Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year, have there been other instances of alleged human rights abuses?

Economics-oriented:

  1. What are the main economic drivers in these economies?
  2. What is their [the countries] capacity for absorbing thousands of Venezuelans?
  3. What sort of jobs are newly-arrived Venezuelans taking?

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These are the interviews WikiTribune plans to conduct. Add more suggestions using the Edit button.

Interviews

  1. Amnesty
  2. Human Rights Watch
  3. Living Water Community, a NGO
  4. Venex, an NGO
  5. Local government officials
  6. Local economists
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