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They can see, they can hear, they can talk

They can see, they can hear, they can talk

They can see, they can hear, they can talk
March 15
15:56 2018

Jesus Sánchez Meleán

Filippo Grandi, of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (ACNUR), is reminding the world that it’s been seven years since the conflict in Syria began. Since 2011, that country is practically divided in three parts. The formal government, in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his armed forces, controls the central region of the country. Kurdish rebel groups on one side, and Islamic extremist on the other, share control of the country’s periphery.

International intervention has been insufficient to achieve a solution to the conflict that is reaping apart this Middle Eastern country. Russian and Iran have invested huge resources to protect the al-Assad regime from being overthrown by any of the rebel factions. The Kurdish rebel group, operating in the northern part of Syria, has been supported by many Western countries, including the United States. The two most recent U.S. administrations have also invested resources to defeat the Islamic rebels.

Grandi explains that the Syrian war is a human tragedy. “This 7-year war has left behind a colossal human toll on its path. For the good of those who are still alive, it is time to end this devastating conflict. There are no clear winners in this senseless pursue of a military solution, but the losers are quite obvious and easy to spot, it is the people pf Syria,” lamented Grandi. According to ACNUR, during these years, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. Meanwhile, 6 million have been displaced from their homes, and 5.6 have sought refuge.

Grandi also reminded the world, on the anniversary of the conflict, that the worst is yet to come. The commissioner explained that 90 percent of the Syrian families spend more than half their annual income on food. In that country, food prices are 8 times higher than they were before the conflict started. Meanwhile, 69 per cent of those who remain in Syria live in extreme poverty. On top of their financial hardship, security and the risk of dying due to the war, directly affect 5.6 million people.

According to these numbers, it is accurate to say that Syria, that had 18 million people in 2011, has lost one third of its population. And it is possible that another third might still leave, die in combat, or starve to death if the war continues. The commissioner doesn’t hide his pessimism before the situation of this conflict. “The world has become blind and deaf for the tragedies of humanity,” said Grandi. And the worst part is that he is right.

In the U.S.’ backyard, on the southern coast of the Caribbean, there is another humanitarian crisis, similar in proportion to that of Syria, is taking place. I am talking about the conflict created by the Chavista regime that rules Venezuela. In this coastal country, there is no civil war between armed factions. The crisis there has taken place due to the government’s resistance to apply rational economic policies that would stimulate production, by offering certain guarantees for private capitals to do their jobs.

The stubbornness of the Venezuelan communist regime, by insisting in their immature theses of achieving equality by expropriating businesses, has caused the gross domestic product (GDP) to drop 6 per cent in 2017, compared to the previous year, In the same period, and despite the war, the GDP in Syria grew 3.4 per cent. Venezuelans suffered in 2017 inflation of 1,104 per cent; while Syrians, who are suffering what seems to be an eternal war, saw only a 30.2 per cent inflation.

Venezuelans are living in hell in terms of security and life standards. These conditions have forced more than three million Venezuelans to emigrate from their country in the past 5 years. According to ACNUR, fifty per cent of those three million have left in the past 18 months. This organization believes the Venezuelan exodus will continue because there are no signs of rectification by the communist government of Venezuela.

The pessimism of ACNUR regarding Venezuela has been captured in a recent document. ACNUR has declared that Venezuelans should be considered refugees. By applying that condition, ACNUR officials are asking the countries receiving these Venezuelans to treat them in a human manner, allowing them to work and temporarily live in their territories. They exhort those countries to avoid deporting them, because sending them back to their country could cost them their lives.

Colombia, Panamá, Perú, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico have been the top destinations chosen by hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to migrate. These countries have adapted their legislation to protect them. Most of them, except for Panama have fought the xenophobia that created the massive arrival of Venezuelan immigrants. I hope the number of countries willing to welcome Venezuelans grows. And even more important, more countries need to stop being blind, deaf and silent regarding the drama that overwhelms the Venezuelan refugees.

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Edición Virtual | #334 | 14 de Marzo 2019

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