Join Now

Ecuador has brought in new rules to stop Venezuelan migrants entering the country without a passport, leaving many stranded in neighbouring Colombia

Saturday - 18/08/2018 23:54
Ecuador has brought in new rules to stop Venezuelan migrants entering the country without a passport, leaving many stranded in neighbouring Colombia

Thousands of Venezuelans fleeing their country's economic and political crisis have been crossing into Ecuador from Colombia using only identity cards.

Most are heading south to join family members in Peru and Chile.

Colombia has protested against the move, saying vulnerable people will be trapped on its side of the border.

In a separate incident, residents of a Brazilian town attacked a Venezuelan migrant camp on Saturday and drove the occupants back across the border.

Venezuela has suffered for years from high inflation and the chronic shortage of food and medicines.

More than a million Venezuelan migrants have entered Colombia in the past 15 months, according to official estimates, and more than 4,000 have been arriving at Ecuador's border every day.

Many have been walking or hitching rides for weeks and are exhausted by the time they reach the frontier.

Map locator

Early on Saturday, about 300 Venezuelans were lined up at the Rumichaca border crossing outside the Colombian city of Ipiales, and many said they had no passports to gain entry to Ecuador.

Gabriel Malavolta, a 50-year-old mechanic, left Venezuela three days ago aiming to make the overland route to Lima, Peru, through Ecuador.

He has a passport but his fiancee, Yenny, had only an ID card. 

"I don't know what we're going to do, but we can't go back. I'm not sending my fiancee to go back and go hungry," he told Reuters news agency at a Red Cross tent.

"You've no idea what it's like [in Venezuela]. Whole families eat from the trash."

Another migrant, Regulo Guaita, said: "That was truly a surprise. We found out today. It's very sad because there are many, many Venezuelans leaving and (with this measure) they won't let them leave. I don't know what they'll do now."

Venezuelan migrants queue to register their entry into Ecuador at Rumichaca, Ecuador, August 18, 2018
REUTERS
There are long queues of Venezuelans migrants at the border crossing near Ipiales
 

With the flow of Venezuelan migrants causing tensions across the region, Peru's government announced immigration measures similar to Ecuador's on Friday. Passport requirements for Venezuelans will begin on 25 August.

In February, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a tightening of border controls, resulting in thousands of Venezuelans rushing to crossing points.

Brazil, which neighbours Venezuela, has also expressed concerns and temporarily closed the border earlier this month. Violence has flared in the border state of Roraima where thousands of Venezuelans live in precarious accommodation.

Police try to maintain control as Brazilian residents demonstrate against the presence of Venezuelan immigrants in Pacaraima, Brazil, 18 August 2018
EPA
Brazilian police tried to restore control after residents near Pacaraima attacked Venezuelan migrant camps
 

In the border town of Pacaraima on Saturday, several migrant encampments were attacked by angry residents.

The attacks followed a protest in the town after a local restaurant owner was allegedly robbed and beaten up by Venezuelans. 

According to reports, hundreds of Venezuelans fled back across the border and residents set fire to the belongings they had left behind.

On the Venezuelan side of the border, meanwhile, there were reports that Brazilian cars had been attacked.a

Source:

 Key: Ecuador, Venezuela

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article

  Reader Comments

Newer articles

Older articles

Top
You did not use the site, Click here to remain logged. Timeout: 60 second