SAO PAULO – Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero links the vast migration of Venezuelans through various nations of Latin America to the economic sanctions imposed on their country by the United States.
“As always happens with economic sanctions that cause a financial blockade, it isn’t the government that pays the price but rather the citizens, the people. This should give pause” to those who impose them, Zapatero said in an interview with EFE after taking part in a forum in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.
Zapatero hailed “the attitude of solidarity” toward the Venezuelan people of the 11 Latin American countries that met in Quito at the beginning of the month in an attempt to “coordinate their actions and, of course, make sure the principles of human rights and social assistance are complied with.”
In his opinion, Venezuela must also be included in these talks because “it’s not easy to help this population that is leaving and even some who return” if there is no “dialogue” with the emigrants’ country of origin.
The United Nations estimates that up to June this year at least 2.3 million Venezuelans had left their country due to the political, social and economic crisis and headed mainly for Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
“But I must say that the intensified growth of this migration to other countries in recent times has a lot to do with the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and backed by a number of governments,” Zapatero said.
For its part, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denies that any migratory crisis exists in the region, and even such an important Chavista leader as Diosdado Cabello said that Venezuelans who have emigrated in recent years did so because it was “fashionable” and because “they thought it gave them status.”
Zapatero will travel in the coming days from Brazil to Venezuela to “see what the situation is like” and to organize “possible dialogues in the immediate future,” something to which he has dedicated himself over “the last three years.”