Ecuador Wants Regional Summit on Venezuela Migration Crisis

QUITO—Ecuador’s government on Aug. 21 said it wanted to host a regional summit to discuss a worsening exodus of migrants fleeing devastated Venezuela and overwhelming South America.

The foreign ministry said it was inviting Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela to a Sept. 17-18 meeting in Quito.

The diplomatic activity comes amid a ballooning exodus that has inundated border towns and flooded some Latin American job markets with low-skilled Venezuelans desperate for work in order to send money back to their convulsed homeland.

Venezuelan migrants Ecuador regional summit
Venezuelan migrants walk along the Ecuadorean highway to Peru before new rules requiring they hold a valid passport kick in, at Tulcan, Ecuador August 21, 2018. (Reuters/Andres Rojas)

With the International Monetary Fund forecasting that Venezuela’s inflation could reach 1 million percent by the year’s end, malnutrition is on the rise, as a monthly minimum wage that amounts to a few U.S. dollars puts basic products like chicken out of reach for many.

In the last week, both Ecuador and Peru have announced tighter entry requirements for Venezuelans, while in Brazil rioters drove hundreds of migrants back over the border.

“It is the moment to exchange opinions, to see what different countries are doing in different aspects,” said Ecuador’s Vice Minister for Human Mobility Santiago Chavez in the statement.

“The worst that can happen to the country (Ecuador) is migratory chaos,” he added.

By Alexandra Valencia