Colombian President Iván Duque thanked on Tuesday the funds approved by the international community for the countries that receive Venezuelan migrants, but emphasized that mechanisms are required for the rapid disbursement of such aid.
This was expressed by the Colombian head of state during his virtual speech at the International Donors Conference in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the countries of the region, in the context of the coronavirus, convened by the European Union (EU) and the Government from Spain, with the support of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“My message is, first of all, of gratitude for this meeting. Of gratitude in the sense of the manifestations and contributions, but I believe that we need the contributions to be consolidated in amount, consolidated in disbursement speeds, in the periodicity of the same and proper targeting, “said Duque.
The conference of donors in support of Venezuelan migrants and refugees and the Latin American countries that host them on Tuesday gathered international contributions of 2,544 million euros ($ 2.79 billion), in response to a call for solidarity in a situation aggravated by COVID- 19.
Of these contributions, 595 million euros (653 million dollars) correspond to donations, said the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya.
Duque reiterated that he values ”the efforts of donor countries at this meeting, but he would also like to point out that what must be sought are instruments of rapid disbursement, and where we do not have so much conditionality tied to administrative pilgrimages, which can hinder the flows of those resources”.
According to figures from the Colombian Government, some 1.8 million Venezuelans live in the country who left their country, mired in a social, economic and political crisis.
The Colombian president insisted that “what we are seeing in Venezuela is the largest migratory and humanitarian crisis that has been seen on our continent in recent history.”
He added that a similar situation is experienced in Ecuador, Peru and Chile, and when compared to other cases worldwide, “we are talking about this being the second largest crisis after the Syria crisis, where about 6.2 millions of people left that territory. ”
“The vast majority of countries have assumed a social and economic challenge,” said Duque, explaining that the countries that have “absorbed these migratory movements” applied “many, many social and economic measures that bring high costs.”
He explained that “the figures that Colombia has been able to allocate per year exceed 1,000 million dollars in the last three years.”
RISK FOR THE REGION
On the other hand, Duque warned the international community “that if this dictatorship in Venezuela does not end quickly, this (migratory) situation will worsen, and much more in the field than what we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic ”
He indicated that the conditions of the intensive care units in the neighboring country “are highly precarious”, as are the epidemiological information and the numbers of contagion and deaths from the coronavirus.
“The lack of certainty about the information on infections and deaths can become a time bomb, where, due to deficiencies, more pressure will eventually be put on neighboring countries,” Duque added.