Venezuela Exodus: Fourteen Bodies Found Drowned Near Trinidad.

Photo: Reuters. Over 500 Venezuelans risk life and limb every day trying to leave that country due to economic hardship.
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(BBC) December 13th, 2020–The bodies of 14 migrants have been found over the past two days off the Venezuelan coast.

They are thought to have been part of a group of more than 20 Venezuelans who boarded a boat on 6 December to flee economic hardship in their homeland.

The boat left Güiria in north-eastern Sucre state and their intended destination is believed to have been Trinidad and Tobago.

Local media reported that at least two children were among the dead.

Eleven bodies were found by a Venezuelan Coast Guard patrol on Saturday in the sea seven nautical miles (13km) off Güiria and three more bodies were reported on a beach nearby.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 5.4 million people have left Venezuela in the past five years to escape a spiraling economic and political crisis that has led to shortages of food and medicines, fuel, and widespread power cuts.

According to the IOM, the exodus of Venezuelans is the largest in the recent history of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tens of thousands have fled to Trinidad and Tobago, many making the crossing by sea in often overloaded, rickety boats.

At least two boats disappeared last year on their way to Trinidad and Tobago with a third believed to have capsized en route to Curaçao.

The authorities in Trinidad and Tobago said its coastguard had not intercepted any boats in recent days, dismissing rumors that the migrants had been turned back by officials from the Caribbean nation.

Over the last few years millions of Venezuelans have now fled economic and humanitarian chaos in what the UN’s refugee agency called a “staggering” exodus that has swelled by 1 million people since last November alone.

The number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees stood at about 695,000 at the end of 2015, the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on Friday.

But three and a half years later – with Venezuela immersed in a seemingly intractable social and political crisis – that number had “skyrocketed” to more than 4 million, the groups said, and currentl estimates put that number at 4.6 million.

About half of that total have sought shelter in two South American countries – Colombia and Peru. Many others have made for Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina.

Many of the 4.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants across Latin America and the Caribbean face multiple risks due to COVID-19, crime and human trafficking, impoverishment and other threats.

The U.N. refugee agency says Venezuelans most at risk are those fleeing increasingly desperate conditions in their country.  Field assessments indicate approximately 500 to 700 people leave Venezuela every day.



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