Several Latin American countries and the representative for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido sought more international funds on Tuesday to manage the millions of migrants fleeing crisis-hit Venezuela.
An estimated 2.7 million people, an average of 5 000 every day in 2018, have left Venezuela, according to the United Nations which has noted that neighboring countries especially Colombia have taken on most of the burden.
Venezuelans are escaping an economy in tailspin, with hyperinflation and shortages of basic necessities including food and medicine.
“Concrete actions” of financial support are necessary, Ecuadoran vice minister of human mobility Santiago Chavez told reporters at the meeting in Quito.
It was also attended by representatives from the UN, World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
“We are not really satisfied with what the banks have done in terms of financial cooperation and have asked them to do more. This serious and urgent situation demands it,” Chavez said, without specifying the amount of global aide necessary.
Ecuador alone has asked for $550 million to fund programs through 2021 for about 250 000 Venezuelans registered on its territory.
In December, the UN appealed for $738 million to help displaced Venezuelans as well as 16 countries hosting them.
Tuesday’s Quito declaration – which said about 3.5 million Venezuelans migrated to countries of the region in the last four years – was signed by representatives for Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
Also endorsing it was Rene de Sola, designated ambassador to Quito by Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as the interim Venezuelan president by more than 50 countries.
Guaido is in a power struggle with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, who is supported by the military as well as China and Russia.
Maduro’s government refused to participate in the Ecuador conference, part of the “Quito Process” to address the humanitarian and migratory crisis.
A fourth meeting is set for July 4-5 in Buenos Aires.
The UN estimates the number of Venezuelan migrants could reach 5.3 million by the end of 2019.