The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus [article]

Synoptic extract

february2018“Although most countries in the region have recently adopted legislative frameworks that would allow for the recognition of Venezuelans as refugees, they have largely opted to respond to the influx with special visa schemes that provide varying degrees of protection. Still, by international standards countries across Latin America have been generous in their reception of Venezuelans. Despite the increasing numbers, most are upholding open-door policies.

Initially, foreign policy drove these generous responses. But the rise of xenophobic sentiment across the region has increasingly turned the Venezuelan exodus into a domestic policy issue—one that requires regional cooperation.” (pp. 56-57)


Freier, Luisa Feline and Parent, Nicolas. 2019. “The Regional Response to the Venezuelan Exodus,” Current History: A Journal of Contemporary World Affairs 118, no. 805: 56-61.


This article is published through Current History, in its February 2019 issue on Latin America. It is available for viewing and download here.

The Venezuelan exodus: Placing Latin America in the global conversation on migration management [article]



This article is a brief comparative analysis between the European migration crisis (2014-2016) and the Venezuelan migration crisis. It looks at the similarities in both profiles of displacement, and the differences in regional responses. The main argument made is that the response in Latin America merits a place in the global conversation on forced displacement.

The article is co-written with Dr. Luisa Feline Freier at the Universidad del Pacifico (Political and Social Sciences) in Lima, Peru.


The article is published (31.07.2018) through the Latin America and Caribbean blog, published by the Latin America and Caribbean Center at London School of Economics and Political Science. It can be read here.

A South American Migration Crisis: Venezuelan Outflows Test Neighbors’ Hospitality [article]


It is increasingly evident that the Venezuelan exodus that began in 2014 is now the fastest-escalating displacement of people across borders in Latin American history. The deepening political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has led to the mass movement of people across the region—mostly to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru—and beyond. Estimates of Venezuelans on the move are imprecise, but range from 1.6 million to 4 million people abroad as of early 2018. Hundreds of thousands more have left in the first half of the year, and the numbers keep climbing—outpacing earlier humanitarian flows from Central America, Colombia, and Cuba. Some experts predict the displacement could surpass the 5.6 million Syrians who have fled that country’s civil war.

This article examines the characteristics of Venezuelan migrants based on the latest data available, before discussing how governments in the region have responded to the inflow and what the crisis means in the context of shifting Latin American immigration laws.

The article is co-written with Dr. Luisa Feline Freier at the Universidad del Pacifico (Political and Social Sciences) in Lima, Peru.


The article is published (18.07.2018) through the online journal of the Migration Policy Institute: Migration Information Source. It can be read here.MPI logo

Four voices of refugee solidarity along the Balkan Route: An exploratory pilot study on motivations for mobilisation

Investigation details

During the months of November and December 2016, I travelled across one of the most common paths along the ‘Balkan Route’; the migration route made infamous during the 2015 European Migration Crisis. The desire to pursue this field investigation emerged as a result of several factors. Most notably, while living in Turkey, I had the chance to meet incredible refugee solidarity activists from every corner of Europe and beyond. They had come to Turkey to lend a hand in response to the mass influx of forced migrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Simultaneously, media outlets sensationalized the crisis while political discourse managed to wedge itself as a divisive force to which citizens could latch onto. The voice of host community residents and refugees was nearly absent in all of this. Being part of several broad and organized activist networks, I knew that a great deal of solidarity with migrants and refugees existed within the Balkans. I was curious, however, as to how this solidarity materialized in situ, and how people with no prior interest in migration or experience with activism decide to become engaged with refugee solidarity actions.

In total, 32 individuals in six countries were interviewed over a six week period (see map below).

Hotel City Plaza (Athens, Greece), an abandoned hotel turned into a free housing complex for refugees. For more information, visit: (Source: Parent, 2016)
Train tracks passing through Veles (Macedonia), one of the hotspots of humanitarian response during the 2015 European Migration Crisis. (Source: Parent, 2016)
Area map of central Savamala (Belgrade, Serbia), an area with a high concentration of informal refugee settlements. Mapping based on field observations and interviews conducted. (Source: Parent, 2016)
Inside the ‘Barracks’, an informal refugee settlement (Savamala, Belgrade, Serbia). (Source: Parent, 2016)


Investigation output: Migration Letters


Four voices of refugee solidarity along the Balkan Route: An exploratory pilot study on motivations for mobilisation


MigrationLettersScathing critiques of the European response to what has been widely called a ‘refugee crisis’ are not in short supply. However, as many activist mobilisations and solidarities emerged along the Balkan Route, this is only one facet of the European response to forced migration. Having interviewed four migration activists from four countries along this route – Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary – this exploratory pilot study sought to investigate possible motivational factors for mobilisation in light of the fact that the participants had no prior experience in activism nor interest in the politics of migration prior to the European migration crisis. Through content analysis of interview transcripts, two factors emerged as having potential implications for mobilisation: media coverage and visibility of refugees. Hence, theories about the media effect and intergroup contact are used to explicate the findings. Possible future research avenues are proposed.


refugees, perception, media, intergroup relations, mobilisation, activism, Balkans.


This article can be in Migration Letters vol. 15, no. 3 (pp. 423-436). Currently, the article is not open access. Please feel free to contact me.