UN considers refugee crisis worst of century;  Brazil opens its arms to Venezuelans

It is estimated that more than five million people have left a South American country, fleeing hunger and looking for a better future for their families

PRISCILLA TORRES/PHOTOPRESS/ESTADÃO CONTENTThousands of Venezuelans crossed the border with Brazil through Roraima

Leave without looking back and often without even taking belongings, just the hope of a dignified future. This is the story of thousands of families who forcibly migrate, whether through armed, political, or economic conflicts. Trajectories like that of Liliana Brizuela, a 40-year-old chemistry teacher, married to Carlos Brizuela, a 40-year-old biology teacher. They are Venezuelans, residents no Brazil a year and a half ago. They came with three children, the eldest staying in Caracas. The couple reports that there, even working as teachers in government schools, the salary was getting shorter to cope with the uncontrolled increase in prices and meals were even controlled during the day. Here the reality is different. “It’s much better to stay here because we have peace, more than food, it’s important, but the peace, tranquility we have to know that our children will have a better future because of a good education, a good food, because of the tranquility we got here,” he said.

Liliana teaches Spanish and Carlos works as a cleaning assistant. Even outside the profession, the family’s support is guaranteed. This makes them have dreams and make plans. “There are things covered, basic needs such as food, we can focus on other things that are of benefit to us. We want to do things that are not only for us, but also for humanity”, he explained. The couple is not the only one. It is estimated that more than 5 million Venezuelans have already left Venezuela to seek refuge in other countries. Brazil is one of the main destinations. Here, more than 260,000 refugees are sheltered. The numbers are from the humanitarian organization Refúgio 343, which is present in 15 Brazilian states and works in partnership with international agencies in the support and socioeconomic reintegration of refugees.

Fernando Rangel, executive director of the organization, says that the projection is that there are 80 million refugees in the world today. Brazil has done an outstanding job in welcoming. “Human being has migrated since he has existed on this planet and today this, instead of being seen as a beautiful, positive thing, a possibility of cultural exchange, is actually generating a lot of xenophobia and discontent, sometimes in a population that is in that country that could and should help. Brazil is still a very welcoming country, we believe that we are doing a very positive job, Operation Welcome in Roraima is an example for the whole world”, he said. The Refúgio 343 organization has already welcomed more than 1,400 people. According to the UN, the refugee situation is the most serious humanitarian crisis of the century. The last such intense migratory crisis was caused by World War II.

*With information from reporter Carolina Abelin

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