Two events are likely behind the increase in Venezuelan citizens crossing the border from Colombia into Ecuador this week.
With the re-opening of a key border crossing between Venezuela and Colombia last week, and the new Peruvian visa requirement that will take effect in next Saturday, Ecuador is seeing a slight increase in the number of Venezuelans crossing into the country.
In response to the increase, authorities are preparing to serve the Venezuelans through a humanitarian corridor that involves the bus service from Rumichaca to Huaquillas, on the border with Peru.
Vladimir Velasco, district director of the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES) in the province of Carchi, on the border with Colombia, said that for now, “there is no significant increase in the flow of migrants.” On Tuesday, they were “between 3,000 and 3,500 people who have passed through the bridge of Rumichaca to our country.” That is approximately 1,000 more than normally pass on any given day.
Velasco said that six buses provided by the provincial government of Pichincha will be ready this Thursday to apply the humanitarian corridor and transfer some 280 Venezuelans at a time to Huaquillas.
Velasco stressed that it is the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that is in charge of the humanitarian corridor and that favors the transfer of people belonging to vulnerable groups such as children, mothers, accompanied adolescents, people with disabilities and older adults.
The President of the Venezuelan Civil Association in Ecuador , Daniel Regalado, warned that the migratory flow could increase in the coming days, “because the people (Venezuelan) want to go, they are desperate because they have family in Chile, Argentina and in Peru itself. ”
Many Venezuelans “had planned, they had bus tickets to go by land,” said Regalado, who said that the opening of the border between Venezuela and Colombia has also contributed to the increase in the flow of migrants. It is also about “getting to Peru before” the visa requirement comes into force, he added
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), four million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 and at least 3.1 million of them have stayed in Latin America.
Over the last 4 years, 1.5 million Venezuelans have crossed through Ecuador, with 1 million of them coming since January 2108. Estimates indicate that 300,000 Venezuelans have stayed in Ecuador.
Extracted from Diario El Mercurio