Colombia fears Ecuador border controls effect on Venezuelan exodus

Evarado Alatorre
Agosto 20, 2018

Peru announced on Friday that they will follow Ecuador's recent decision to require all Venezuelans reaching the border to enter with a passport- a document that has become increasingly hard to obtain in Venezuela. Authorities said up to 4,500 Venezuelans were crossing daily, compared with around 500 to 1,000 previously.

Venezuelan migrants have been taking days-long bus rides across South America, often crossing Ecuador on their way south to Peru or Chile, because they can not afford flights on a minimum wage that adds up to a few USA dollars a month.

That has been a significant advantage for Venezuelan migrants, who struggle to obtain passports amid chronic shortages.

"Today the Peruvian embassy in Caracas received Venezuela's foreign ministry's request to find two Venezuelan citizens sought by that country's authorities for their presumed involvement in what that government calls an 'attack against the President of Venezuela", Peru's ministry said.

"We are immensely anxious about the consequences this might present", he said.

The United Nations estimates that 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the crisis looking for work and to escape poverty, while Colombia has given temporary residence to more than 800,000. Peru said 5,100 Venezuelans crossed into the country last Saturday, a record for a single day.

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Earlier this month, William Spindler, the spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said: 'The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America's largest mass-population movements in history'.

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

Colombia began requiring Venezuelans to present a passport or border card allowing for short trips into the nation earlier this year. "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".

"Asking for a passport isn't going to stop migration because they're leaving their country not out of choice but out of necessity", added Kruger.

Peruvian migration officials estimate between 17,000 and 25,000 Venezuelans are now in southern Ecuador with the intention of heading on to Peru, Chile or Argentina.

'They're leaving because they need to'.

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