Neighboring nations shore up their borders as Venezuelans flee socialist nightmare

by WorldTribune Staff, August 21, 2018

Brazil, Peru and Ecuador are taking new measures to curtail the flow of migrants fleeing to their borders from socialist Venezuela.

The situation at Brazil’s border has become so chaotic that the Brazilian state of Roraima has asked the government to halt Venezuelan immigration completely, Reuters reported on Aug. 20.

Venezuelan migrants stand in line to register their exit from Colombia before entering into Ecuador. / Reuters

“As a result of the grave conflicts over the weekend, the state of Roraima submitted a fast-track request … seeking the temporary suspension of Venezuelan immigration through the border,” the state government said in a statement.

Brazil’s supreme court rejected a previous request by Roraima, as the nation’s constitution mandates an open border. The court is unlikely to agree to the new request, the report said.

Brazil’s citizenry is also reportedly on edge over the thousands of migrants pouring into their country. On Aug. 18, reports said a migrant camp in Brazil was destroyed by locals after a theft dispute. Over 1,200 Venezuelans fled back to Venezuela because of this incident, the reports said.

Authorities in Peru announced on Aug. 17 that they will follow Ecuador’s recent decision to require Venezuelans reaching the border to enter with a passport, a document that has grown increasingly difficult to obtain in Venezuela, The Associated Press reported.

Peruvian Interior Minister Mauro Medina said the passport requirement is needed to ensure an orderly migration.

“If something happens to them, we have a way to identify them,” he said. “Also, some bad apples – who don’t represent the majority, who are decent people – filter in and police should have the adequate tools to identify them.”

More than 500,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador since January, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency. In Peru, officials recorded more than 5,000 Venezuelan entries on a recent single day, the AP report said.

“The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America’s largest mass-population movements in history,” William Spindler, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said earlier this month.

Colombia, which has become a gateway for Venezuelans fleeing to other South American countries, criticized the move by Peru and Ecuador to require passports.

“Requiring a passport isn’t going to stop this migration,” Colombia Migration Director Christian Kruger said. “This isn’t a migration of people leaving their country just because they want to. They’re leaving because they need to.”

More than 1 million Venezuelans have arrived in Colombia in less than two years. Thousands still sneak in to Colombia through hundreds of illegal entry points along the 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border with Venezuela.

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