In recent weeks, the international community and different media have reported that Venezuela is going through a “mass exodus”. The shortage of food and medicines, the violence in the streets, the lack of employment and the discontent with Maduro’s regime have made many Venezuelans want to leave their country in search of better opportunities.
So far, Colombia has been the preferred Latin American destination. Around 550,000 people with and without visas arrived in this South American country to stay and the authorities foresee that this figure may reach one million in July.
However, Colombia has not been the only country that has witnessed the Venezuelan exodus, the repercussions have been reflected in Costa Rica as well.
According to data provided by the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreign Nationals, the number of Venezuelans who have requested refuge in this country has increased in the last three years. In 2015, there were 280 requests; in 2016, applications increased to 1,398 and in 2017, there were 3,175. That is to say, there was an increase of 1.033% of asylum requests from Venezuelans from 2015 to 2017.
However, despite the increase, Costa Rica cannot accept everyone. In 2015, only eight people had the approval, in 2016, only 126 people, and in 2017, only 69 people. In other words, in the last three years, this country provided shelter to a total of 203 people.
As the number of people who have requested refuge has grown, so has the number of applications in other categories, such as permanent residences, temporary residences and other special categories.