Sputnik: What caused the Venezuelan refugee crisis?
Francisco Panizza: The cause is the economic crisis that’s been going on in the country for the last four years due to economic mismanagement and falling oil prices. This has created a fall in GDP of around 25% and is perhaps one of the worst economic collapses that we’ve seen for a long time, much bigger than what happened in Europe with both Greece and Italy.
Francisco Panizza: The main impact is of course the impact of economic refugees to these countries. Particularly in Colombia, this has a very long, porous border with Venezuela. The same can be said to a certain extent with Brazil, so these are the countries that a receiving the majority of refugees.
There are also refugees in the United States; particularly in Miami, so if you are middle class you can flee to the United States, if you are poor you have no other option apart from Colombia or Brazil.
Francisco Panizza: You cannot separate politics from an economic crisis. You can see an increasing authoritarianism growing within Maduro’s government leading to the complete polarisation of the country, but there is no legitimacy with the opposition or the government itself.
The economic crisis requires a complete change of economic populism that the Maduro government has been implementing in previous years, which includes a huge deficit in the budget which lead to hyperinflation, that makes it impossible for people to buy even basic things.
So; there needs to be a change, but as of yet it is unclear where it is going to come from.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.