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Time for changes - TREEEC

20.08.2020 / Eugenia Montiel Aceti

Time for changes

We forgot where we came from

It has been a matter of days, weeks and even years. We forgot where we came from, and that came from a Venezuelan abroad. Figuratively, reconfiguring the moral code of a society as well as its cultural values can be stirred just as in a chemical experiment. We could add some zest, and say that we learnt from such and such books; however, our daily dose of air conveyed a different lesson.

Waking up to the sound of sirens, startling frantically, or simply to a poignant gun-shot in Venezuela, is the reality that many Venezuelans face just for partaking in any living situation. As impunity goes rampant, it is also a tragedy from within that, according to David Smolansky, the OAS General Secretariat's Commissioner for the Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Crisis, Maduro has threatened migrants with jail time upon their return for as long as the coronavirus quarantine lasts.[1]

“The system has left us landlocked, and I found a way to thrust such survival upon my shoulders”, a Venezuelan refugee in Colombia commented.

Similar stories can be heard from across populations and groups, but the magnitude of the pain that has become entrenched in refugees far exceeds just a story. The Venezuelan crisis has outpaced misery, and as the Brookings Institute study pointed out, four years since the onset of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, 4.6 million Venezuelans had fled the country which was already about 16 percent of the population. The figure was strikingly similar to the 4.8 million people that had fled Syria by 2015, four years into the massive forced displacement crisis there.[2]

For the international community, it has become just a matter of digits in order to bring real aid for the people. It is already known that “the Venezuelan refugee crisis is one of the largest in modern history”,[3] and that if trends continue, it will reach an exodus of 6.5 million people by the end of 2020.[4]

Nonetheless, the pain of countless of lives seems to be irrelevant to formulas in monetary policy, if such truthfully exist. A stark example can be seen in the fact that the global community has spent $7.4 billion on refugee response efforts in the first four years of the Syrian crisis, but it has only spent $580 million four years into the Venezuelan refugee crisis. In other words, each Syrian refugee receives $1,500 of financial help while a Venezuelan refugee gets only $125.[5] Today, we are 5.1 million refugees and migrants around the world, and most would agree that being used as digits is not enough for living.

It is possible to embrace solutions when we begin to believe in a system that has not failed us before. It is possible to think of help in Dollars, Euros or Yen but even better with another medium of exchange, tied to a new economic system, that begins by not charging you an interest rate.