Venezuelan Migrants Under COVID-19: Managing South America’s Pandemic Amid a Migration Crisis

Surveying Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina—the top recipients of Venezuelan migrant flows—Mazza underscores the great variability in coverage for migrants in national pandemic assistance plans that included cash transfers, health care, housing, or job assistance.  Acknowledging the major fiscal and operational constraints on governments as well as the speed with which programs were put into place, Mazza nonetheless argues that failure to include migrants in many forms of assistance undermined the region’s ability to lockdown safely and prevent the spread of the virus.  She notes that Venezuelan migrants have been particularly disadvantaged during the pandemic due to their concentration in informal work and precarious housing, problems shared by the poor throughout the region.  She also notes that return migrants to Venezuela represent less than two percent of the Venezuelans living in South America, with the largest return migration occurring in March 2020.