After 14 hours of closing, the border of Brazil and Venezuela was reopened yesterday, Aug 7th, by decision of the Federal Regional of the 1st Region (TRF-1). In that period, anguish and revolt marked the night of the Venezuelans who slept on the road, not knowing if they would be allowed to enter Brazil. At night, the government’s chief minister, Carlos Marun, said the government “is aware” of responsibility, including humanitarian aid, and warned that the country will “keep the border open” with Venezuela.
The day before yesterday, Federal Judge Helder Girão Barreto, of the 1st Rod of the Federal de Roraima, decreed, at the outset, the suspension of the entry of Venezuelan immigrants into Brazil, “until a numerical balance is achieved with the process of internalization to other States) and to create conditions for a humanitarian reception in the State “. The debate extends since April, when the state government asked the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to close the border or entry control.
Yesterday, Minister Rosa Weber denied this request. However, the decision did not affect the issue of the border closure, which was determined at 6 pm the day before yesterday. Yesterday, the vice-president of the TRF-1, federal judge Kassio Nunes Marques, suspended the injunction of the judge of Roraima. “The judicial measure now contested, as well as undue, would jeopardize the principle of separation of powers, as well as seriously undermine public order and administrative order.”
In the 14 hours in which the country was closed to the immigrants of the neighboring nation, there was despair of those who tried to enter and protest of the Venezuelans living in cities near the border. Even Venezuelan adolescents who attend high school in Brazil and are transported on official school buses were prevented from entering Brazilian territory and left on foot.
“It was a very embarrassing situation because the ban was on one side. Brazilians could enter Venezuela, other foreigners could enter Brazil and only Venezuelans were barred. I felt very bad as a human being to see these people being rejected after to travel hours, without money for food, “says Brazilian taxi driver Valtevy Gonçalves de Sousa, 44, who works at the border.
He says that on normal days, the border is already closed at night and at dawn, so it is common for immigrants to wait for the night to enter the next day. The difference was that the refugees did not know if they would be accepted or sent back. Many had no money for the return trip. This was the case of the immigrant Maria Pino, 47, who was traveling with her 7-year-old daughter and grandson. She traveled about 800 km from Maturín in the north of the country to Santa Elena de Uairén, a Venezuelan municipality bordering Pacaraima in Roraima, after more than 30 hours on the road to hear of the judicial decision. A daughter of Maria, who has been living in Brazil for six months, was waiting for her in Boa Vista, 215 km from the border.
“When I heard about the decision, I started crying a lot and I became attached to God, they had no money to eat.” All the goods they had sold to buy the bus ticket, “says Soire de Los Angeles, Louvett Pino, 32 years.
The situation revolted Venezuelans. Just before the border was reopened, citizens of the neighboring country closed the road that gives access to Venezuela in protest. Around 9 o’clock, the Federal Police reopened the border, but the drama did not end. With the obligatory vaccination for Venezuelans, also determined by the 1st Federal Court, the immigrants had to stand in the line of immigration and immunization. Maria and her family, for example, remained at the border waiting for release until 8 pm yesterday. “My nephew is 7 years old today (yesterday) and spent the whole day in this situation. I had even prepared a cake, but it’s just concern,” says Soire.
In Brasilia, Carlos Marun acknowledged that there is a serious problem in Roraima, but warned that the federal government will not “opt for what seems easier, that would be to prevent refugees from entering the country.” “The country does not have this tradition of non-acceptance. We will not take this measure (to close the border),” the minister reiterated. The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.