In the last three years, Venezuela has withered. Under its stubborn and increasingly undemocratic President Nicolás Maduro, the nation has collected political, economic and social problems which have dragged thousands of Venezuelans into hunger and unemployment. The current minimum wage stands at around 1,800 bolivars (USD 30). With inflation rates of up to 1,000,000 percent in 2018 and an 18 percent drop in GDP, according to forecasts of the International Monetary Fund, much of the population has been driven to seek opportunities in neighboring countries.
Since 2015, almost 2 million people have left Venezuela, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It is the biggest migratory wave recorded in recent Latin American history and an average of 5,000 people cross the border each day. Of Latin American countries, Colombia has taken in the most Venezuelans (935,000), followed by Peru (413,000), Chile (178,000), Panama (146,000), Ecuador (116,000), Argentina (82,000), Mexico (65,000), and Brazil (56,000).
Partly because of the language barrier, Brazil is not among the countries which have taken in large numbers of Venezuelan immigrants. However, the government’s immigration policies during the crisis have been praised by international institutions. “The fact that Brazil has kept its border open, allowing for the registration [of immigrants] via refuge or residence, is the first step toward humanitarian support,” said Luiz Fernando Godinho, UNHCR spokesperson in Brazil.