The Venezuelans left in limbo by new US immigration plan
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By JOSEPH C. ABBOTT
MEXICO CITY Venezuela’s migration crisis continued to heat up with the departure of thousands of people — and the return of others who stayed.
The exodus of 3,000 Venezuelans has sparked outrage in Venezuela and across Latin America and the Middle East. It’s a reminder of how the Venezuelan economy, which has been hobbled by mismanagement and misrule, has been unable to provide a reliable source of jobs and benefits, turning a large population of working age into a mass of unemployment and underemployment.
Many also now worry that some will stay, making their situation worse, which led President Hugo Chavez to announce the return of some migrants to Venezuela, but only after a lengthy process. But critics say there are other concerns about the move, which also has a domino effect across the region.
While the return of some Venezuelan migrants to Venezuela has been delayed, two-thirds of them were finally flown in late last week, and the process is now under way. The government of President Hugo Chavez also moved to expand programs to help the millions of Venezuelans already living abroad return home.
“If things are done that way, then one can see that it will have repercussions throughout the South American region — and certainly, one could foresee the domino effect in other Latin American countries,” said Juan Pablo Ramfas, a Mexico City radio broadcaster with links to the Venezuelan government.
“There are a lot of Venezuelans who have been in a very problematic situation in Venezuela, who have not been able to return home because of the problem of illegal immigration on the one hand, and because of the lack of access to the economic sector and because of the lack of access to the international market on the other hand,” said Ramfas. “So what happened is not good, but we have to remember that this is an internal problem of Venezuela.”