The Cartagena Refugee Definition and Venezuelan Displacement in Latin America1

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The displacement of Venezuelan citizens represents an important test for Latin American refugee policies. In mid-2020, over 5 million people in need of international protection had left Venezuela, and there have been repeated calls for their recognition as refugees. Although fifteen countries in Latin America have included the refugee definition of the Cartagena Declaration into their domestic laws, only Mexico and Brazil have applied this definition to Venezuelan citizens. After a brief discussion of the history and scope of the Cartagena Declaration refugee definition and its incorporation into domestic legislation across Latin America, in this article, we provide a systematic legal analysis of its applicability to Venezuelan displacement. We conclude with policy recommendations and suggestions for further research.




Freier, L. F., Berganza, I., & Blouin, C. (2022). The Cartagena Refugee Definition and Venezuelan Displacement in Latin America1. International Migration, 60(1), 18–36.

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