Does Venezuelan Mass Migration Pose a Major Threat to American Security?

José Gustavo Arocha a research fellow for the Center for a Secure Free Society warns about how mass migration from Venezuela could undermine American security interests in the Western hemisphere.

Arocha notes how there are “ongoing protests and instability in Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Honduras and, lately, Chile, a stable country that generally tops the rankings in economic freedom.”

One of Venezuela’s most powerful men, Diosdado Cabello, who is currently sanctioned by the U.S. government for narco-trafficking, recently stated that “What is happening in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina [and] Honduras is a gentle Bolivarian breeze, and a hurricane is coming,” referring to the role Venezuela has played in spreading its revolutionary vision to other countries in the region.

Arocha argues that the “regional chaos is exacerbated by Venezuela’s mass migration, which beyond a humanitarian crisis poses a dangerous threat to the Western Hemisphere because it’s weaponized by the Maduro regime.”

The majority of the 4.3 million Venezuelans, who have left the country due to its economic collapse and rampant crime, have stayed within the region. Arocha details this:

An estimated 1.4 million Venezuelans have settled in Colombia; nearly 860,000 in Peru; 288,000 in Chile; 330,000 in Ecuador; 130,000 in Argentina; and 178,000 in Brazil. About 300,000 Venezuelans are in the United States and more than 255,000 in Spain.

The research fellow argues that a “small percentage of these Venezuelan migrants appear to be undercover subversive agents embedded by the Maduro regime and his regional and extra-regional allies.”

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno blamed Venezuela for the protests that have taken place in his country during the last month. Julio Borges, Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó’s commissioner for Foreign Relations, confirmed that 41 of the 57 foreigners arrested during Ecuador’s protests in October were Venezuelan nationals.

Kelly M. Greenhill, a Harvard researcher, argues that mass migration can be used as a weapon to destabilize countries.

In Arocha’s view, “Venezuela has become what some have called a “Mafia state” with organized crime and terrorist groups controlling vast swaths of Venezuelan territory through transnational illicit networks involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal mining, kidnapping, etc. that spills across borders.”

He then highlights how the “Center for a Secure Free Society, a national security think tank based in Washington, has gone a step further and labeled Venezuela a “parallel state” that combines a “criminalized state” with a revolutionary framework that draws its source of support from external state actors: Russia, Iran and China, or the VRIC.”

The Organization of American States estimates that Venezuela’s socialist collapse could “push refugee outflows to as high as 8.2 million next year.”

Arocha concludes that “The more refugees that flow out of Venezuela, the easier it is for these transnational and transregional threat networks to spread north, south, east and west.”

This case is another demonstration of why the U.S. must beef up its immigration policies and put the clamps on all refugee programs.

Such mass migration flows pose major threats to public safety, national security, and even ideological integrity once refugees from socialist countries are put on the path towards naturalization.