MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) — A team of specialists working for the Organization of American States is urging regional leaders to grant refugee status to a growing flood of migrants fleeing Venezuela.
The working group coordinated by Venezuelan opposition leader David Smolansky issued its recommendation Friday.
Smolansky told leaders gathered at the OAS general assembly meeting in Medellin, Colombia, on Friday that as many as 8 million Venezuelans will have left the country by the end of 2020.
United Nations figures currently put the exodus at 4 million people.
Smolansky said the flight of Venezuelans is tantamount to a forced migration and that those fleeing should be given refugee protections. Many are entering new countries illegally without a hard-to-obtain Venezuelan passport.
The group reported that it has documented 101 migrant deaths by land and sea.