Venezuelan refugee crisis faces a backlash across Latin America

ERNESTO LONDOÑO:

It’s been a mixed bag I think across the board in Latin America, there’s been a tradition of open borders, relatively speaking, and there’s been a proud tradition of rising up to the challenges posed by migrant crisis and refugee crisis in the past. However the number of people that are crossing borders each day, just to give you a sense, as of early this year the U.N. thinks that roughly five thousand people Venezuelans were leaving their country each day. That is a huge number of people for local officials to deal, with particularly when they come with such acute needs.

So while initially I think the general response was one of generosity, was one of people rallying together, you know, making the best of a bad situation. But as the numbers grew and the numbers grew, particularly in border communities, we’re starting to see a backlash. In the northern province of Roraima, which is a relatively poor province in Brazil, the governor earlier this month took the pretty extraordinary decision of suing the federal government demanding that they shut down the border temporarily until local officials can get a handle on the problem. This is not the kind of response we’re used to seeing in places like Brazil. But it speaks to just how vexing this crisis has become for them.

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