Desperate Venezuelans flood into Ecuador, defying passport rules

Young journalists club

News ID: 27756
Publish Date: 23:33 - 21 August 2018
TEHRAN, August 21 -More than 200 desperate Venezuelan migrants crossed the border illegally into Ecuador on Tuesday, fleeing misery at home as they raced to Peru before new rules requiring they hold a valid passport kick in.

Desperate Venezuelans flood into Ecuador, defying passport rulesTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Hundreds of angry refugees who had traveled days through Colombia from Venezuela by bus and on foot defied a regulation set by Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno that began on Aug. 18 and walked through the loosely guarded checkpoint at Rumichaca, near the southwestern Colombian town of Ipiales and the northeastern Ecuadorean town of Tulcan.

They plan to trek and hitchhike in freezing conditions some 840 kilometers to the crossing at Huaquilla in Peru.

Some 15 Ecuadorean police watched them cross the border but did not stop them.

Hundreds of migrants had planned to cross legally with their Venezuelan national ID card to find work in Ecuador, Peru or Chile. But they were stopped by the new regulation.

They need to get to Peru before that border enforces a similar rule on Aug. 25 that prevents them entering without a passport.

More than a million Venezuelan migrants have entered Colombia over the last 15 months, according to official estimates, but Ecuador, Peru and Brazil also have received them.

Many Venezuelans have struggled to obtain passports amid the OPEC nation's political and economic chaos, especially during the last two years.

This year alone, 423,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Rumichaca border.

Sleeping for days in tents and on streets, tension is mounting as conditions worsen, migrants complain of hypothermia and the little money they have for food is running out.

Arguments have started to break out as Venezuelans express anger at Ecuador. Many are upset that they are being treated poorly.

Latin American governments initially welcomed the migrants with open arms, remembering Venezuela's role in welcoming those fleeing dictatorships and conflict in the past.

But the exodus has ballooned this year, stretching social services, creating more competition for low-skilled jobs and stoking fears of increased crime.

(Source: Reuters)

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