Ecuador and Peru implement border controls with Venezuela as migrant flows surge

Ecuador and Peru implement border controls with Venezuela as migrant flows surge

Starting today, Peru and Ecuador will require Venezuelans to present their passports at the border. Previously migrants only needed to

Venezuelan migrants walk along the Ecuadorean highway to Peru before new rules requiring they hold a valid passport kick in, at Tulcan

Photo: Reuters/Andres Rojas

Starting today, Peru and Ecuador will require Venezuelans to present their passports at the border. Previously migrants only needed to show their identity cards.

Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro enacted sweeping economic reforms, including a new currency, higher taxes, a 3000% increase in the minimum wage. For many Venezuelans, this type of economic tumult is unbearable—millions have left the country over the past few years, with nearly 800,000 fleeing to Colombia alone.

Brazil, which shares a border with Venezuela, is also struggling to address the large influx of migrants. The hundreds which arrive in the country every day, however, are still faced with poverty and insecurity. Last week, Brazil returned more than 1,200 refugees to Venezuela after a border town violently attacked the migrants.

Expect the largest mass migration event in Latin American history to begin to erode regional stability, particularly for those countries neighbouring Venezuela. With Brazil’s election on the horizon conservative political parties, like that of Jair Bolsonaro, have stoked anti-immigrant fears in an effort to draw more support. If the crisis continues (which it likely will) the risk of a populist backlash in neighbouring countries will rise.

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