Countries struggle to manage Venezuelan migration

BRASÍLIA – In response to massive immigration Brazil’s president Michel Temer sent troops to the border with Venezuela, as near the city of Paracaima Brazilians burnt Venezuelan makeshift camps last Friday. The immigration crisis is also heating up in Ecuador and other Latin American countries.

Over the weekend, the situation near the city of Paracaima escalated after an alleged assault by Venezuelan thieves that presumably injured one Brazilian merchant. Locals then pushed out Venezuelan immigrants and burnt their makeshift camps while yelling at them and forcing around 1,200 back into their country.

“It was terrible, they burnt the tents and everything inside them. There were gunshots and tires burning,” said Carol Marcano, a Venezuelan woman interviewed by AFP.

President Michel Temer called a meeting with six of his ministers in the presidential residence. The public security ministry said that 60 troops had been dispatched to Paracaima to reestablish and maintain order.

“The city of Paracaima, which shares borders with Venezuela’s Santa Elena de Uairén, remained quiet on Sunday morning after the aggressive expulsion of Venezuelans living in makeshift camps,” reported AFP.

Roraima state governor Suely Campos highlighted that the border with Venezuela must remain temporarily closed, as the authorities have taken control of the streets, especially in the capital Boa Vista. In addition, Campos asked Brasília for backup to face any crime linked to immigration.

Tension in Ecuador and other countries

Tensions are also rising in other Latin American countries that have been affected by massive inflow of Venezuelan immigrants. On Saturday, Ecuador made it more difficult for Venezuelans to cross the border, asking them to provide passports before entering the country. According to the BBC, Ecuador’s foreign ministry explained that the measure is aimed at combating human trafficking and to implement better border control.

Earlier this month, Ecuador implemented measures to provide health care and food programs for Venezuelan immigrants. Official statistics revealed that around 4,200 Venezuelans enter Ecuador every day, most in the hope of staying in the country, but others continue their journey to Peru, Chile, or Argentina for example.

In Peru, similar measures are expected to kick in from August 25, as in some weeks around 20,000 Venezuelans cross the border.

Colombia fears that thousands of Venezuelans get stuck there on their journey. It is estimated that around 3,000 Venezuelans enter Colombia everyday, headed to Ecuador.

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