As large numbers of Venezuelan migrants enter Mexico via its southern border, the federal government has confirmed that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will attend this Sunday’s regional migration summit in Palenque, Chiapas.
Maduro confirmed his attendance during a meeting with Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Alicia Bárcena in Caracas on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said in a statement.
President López Obrador will host the migration meeting, to which leaders and other officials from Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Cuba, Costa Rica and Panama were also invited.
In Caracas, Bárcena and Maduro “agreed on the importance of maintaining a frank dialogue with the other invited countries to better face the enormous challenges posed by human mobility, while focusing on development and on addressing its structural causes,” the SRE said.
López Obrador said last week that the aim of the summit – officially called the Meeting for a Fraternal Neighborhood with Wellbeing – is to reach agreements “to attend to the migration phenomenon while respecting human rights, providing options [and] protecting migrants.”
“… We need to come to an agreement because we can do a lot of things. And also, if we agree, we can seek the cooperation of the United States government, ask them to help. They already are, but they should apply themselves more to attending to the causes [of migration], and not just think about walls, about militarizing the border,” he said last Friday.
During an appearance in the Senate a day after her meeting with Maduro, Bárcena said that some 60,000 Venezuelan migrants crossed into Mexico last month. Over 7 million Venezuelans have left their homeland in recent years, mainly due to the severe economic crisis in the South America nation.
Bárcena also said that 35,000 Guatemalans and 27,000 Hondurans entered Mexico via the southern border in September.
Reuters reported that the numbers of migrants crossing Mexican territory “fell abruptly” after United States authorities authorized in May more legal pathways to enter the U.S.
“But the numbers have again shot up in recent weeks,” the news agency said.
Bárcena told senators that about 1.13 million migrants have reached Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala this year, and that 1.75 million had made it to the northern border with the United States.
Migration wasn’t the only issue discussed at the foreign minister’s meeting with Maduro, who became president in 2013 following the death of Hugo Chávez.
The SRE said that Bárcena, on behalf of the Mexican government, “welcomed the decision” of the Venezuelan government and the Unitary Platform opposition alliance “to resume the dialogue and negotiations agreed in Mexico in 2021.”
In Barbados on Tuesday, the two parties “agreed to electoral guarantees for 2024 presidential elections, paving the way for possible U.S. sanctions relief,” Reuters reported.
The SRE said that Bárcena “also held meetings with various Venezuelan authorities.”
“The officials agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the areas of economic reactivation and energy self-sufficiency, among others,” the ministry said.
In addition, Bárcena “met with other sectors of Venezuelan society and reviewed the needs of our embassy in Caracas to continue providing the best possible service to the Mexican community in that country,” the SRE said.