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LatAm nations meet over Venezuela’s migrant crisis

Eleven Latin American nations on Tuesday called for more funding to tackle Venezuela’s migrant crisis.

“Given the high increase in the flow of migrants from Venezuela to regional countries, we ask for a substantial increase in the technical and financial cooperation of neighboring states and international organizations,” they said in a joint statement.

The regional block also asked Venezuelan authorities to provide their citizens with travel documents to facilitate their mobility across the continent.

“We exhort the Venezuelan government to take urgent actions to provide the needed identification and travel documents to its citizens such as ID cards, passports and birth certificates,” they stated.

Thirteen regional countries joined in the two-day summit that took place in Quito, Ecuador on Sept. 3 and 4 to address the migrant crisis and coordinate a regional response.

The joint declaration was signed by all present countries — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay — except Bolivia, which politically supports the Venezuelan government, and the Dominican Republic.

Other countries allied to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declined to take part in the summit such as Cuba and Nicaragua.

Although migrant quotas were part of the discussions, the summit — a “technical meeting” in the words of Santiago Chavez, Ecuador’s deputy minister of human mobility, who hosted the gathering — did not produce any binding commitments for the participating countries.

“We have found focal points regarding human rights protection and security,” Chavez said after the summit ended.

Another regional meeting, this time under the leadership of the Organization of American States, is expected to again address the matter on Sept. 5.

Since 2015, 1.6 million Venezuelans have chosen to flee the country due to shortages of basic necessities and hyperinflation, flooding its Latin American neighbors such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

To try to contain the rising flow of migrants, Peru has recently started requiring Venezuelan citizens to provide their passports to enter the country.

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