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Venezuela refugee crisis: Peru receives asylum applications



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Media Caption The Venezuelans flee the political and economic crisis of their country

Hundreds of Venezuelans have applied for asylum in Peru, and only a few hours after the country tightened their entry requirements.

New rules require Venezuelans to enter Peru to have a passport, not just a passport as before.

Similar rules were introduced last week in Ecuador just to be overturned by a court

Thousands of Venezuelans flee their country amid chronic food and drug shortages.

Since 201

4, more than two million citizens have left the country, which has led to regional tensions, as neighboring countries have difficulties in caring for them.

Like others too In the South American countries, Peru is trying to control the influx of people from Venezuela's economic crisis.

The United Nations, whose migration authority has warned that the continent is facing a refugee crisis similar to the one in the Mediterranean in 2015, founds a special regional coordination team.

What is? happens in Peru

The authorities in Lima have set a deadline on Friday at midnight for the enactment of the new passport rules.

Many Venezuelans have tried to start a new life in Peru – this is one of the areas in the region's fastest growing economies – traveling across Colombia and Ecuador.

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AFP

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Ecuador provided buses to bring Venezuelans across its territory from the Colombian border to the Peruvian border

On Friday, there was an onslaught of people on the Peruvian border, and Ecuador created a so-called "humanitarian corridor" by laying buses to bring migrants across the country.

Peruvian Prime Minister César Villanueva said that Venezuelans need to show their passport on the border does not mean that Peru is closing "the door" for migrants.

He said identity cards do not have enough information and could easily be forged.

Citizens of most South American countries can visit countries in the region without the need for a visa or even a passport. The Andean Community bloc – which includes Ecuador and Peru – also allows its citizens visa-free and passport-free travel, although Venezuela withdrew from the group in 2006.

400,000 Venezuelan migrants already live in Peru, most of whom arrived last year

On Friday, more than 2,500 people crossed the small Peruvian border town of Aguas Verdes, thousands more tried to reach Peru at the main crossing in Tumbes.

The Tumbes junction has reached about 3,000 people arriving in recent weeks

Race to the Border

By Katy Watson, BBC News, Huaquillas, on the peru-Ecuadorian border

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19659014] AFP

Always on Friday evening Venezuelans arrived many times, many in government-confiscated buses that had taken them from the Colombian border to Ecuador.

It was called a humanitarian corridor, but of course it was also Ecuador's interest. They did not want to be left stranded with Venezuelans as soon as midnight passed.

With less than 10 minutes to go before the deadline, more than 100 people were waiting in the queue without passports, hoping to be admitted to Peru.

The officials of the migration authority have handed the travelers a small pink ticket. Those who queued before midnight were allowed to cross the border. Whoever arrived after midnight would not do it.

A seemingly insignificant piece of paper, but one that would define the future for those Venezuelans who go to Peru to find work.

What did the UN say?

Joel Millman, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – a UN agency – said that increasing border restrictions coupled with an outbreak of violence at the Brazilian border last week early warning signs that aid the region

"This builds on a moment of crisis that we have seen in other parts of the world, especially in the Mediterranean," he told reporters.

Chiara Cardoletti The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said other countries in the region had welcomed Venezuelans and helped "to avoid a situation like what we saw in Europe".

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Media caption "This is the biggest exodus Latin America has experienced" – UNHCR's Chiara Cardoletti

"What we see is a continent that opens its doors opens for people who need to flee and need support, "she told the BBC

. Ms. Cardoletti added that C olombia had registered more than 450,000 Venezuelans and granted them a regular status.

How are other countries affected?

Ecuador introduced new passport regulations last week and stranded hundreds of migrants on the border with Colombia.

On Friday, a judge stated that the Venezuelan request for a valid passport breaks regional free movement agreements.

More than half a million Venezuelans have reached Ecuador this year alone and more than a million have entered Colombia in the past 15 months

Brazil's northern state of Roraima has also attempted to close the Venezuelan border with a judge ,

In the border town of Pacaraima, violence erupted last week as residents attacked temporary camps for Venezuelan migrants. The camps were burned down and the inmates fled across the border at times.

Despite the violence, the number of Venezuelans entering Brazil every day has continued to increase.

What did Venezuela say?

The government took drastic measures to stabilize the economy in the last week, issuing new banknotes that cut five zeros from the bolívar. It was predicted that inflation would have been one million percent by the end of the year.

On Friday, Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the measures would convince the returning Venezuelans.

Economists warned that new measures will not address the causes of inflation in Venezuela, and printing new banknotes could aggravate inflation rather than curb it.


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