The Operation Welcomed, which receives and promotes the internalization of Venezuelan immigrants and refugees, will be extended until March 2020, with no possibility of closing the border with Venezuela.
The decision was announced by Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva and the governor of Roraima, Antonio Denarium (PSL). They and four other ministers visited the facilities used by the operation in Boa Vista. This Friday (18), the group will continue to the border region.
The announcement was made on Thursday (17), during a press conference in Boa Vista, capital of Roraima. This Friday, Denarium, Azevedo e Silva, and the ministers of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, Education, Ricardo Vélez, Citizenship, Osmar Terra, and Controller General of the Union, Wagner Rosário, will travel to the Brazilian border with Venezuela.
The authorities will verify the facilities for the Operation Acolhida in the municipality of Pacaraima. The municipality is considered the main gateway of immigrants coming from Venezuela. It was here that in August of last year a group of Venezuelans was attacked and burned down in the street.
Azevedo e Silva dismissed the possibility of interrupting the process, scheduled to end on March 31, noting that the definition of resources will be made. Without details, he pointed out that there are aspects that will be improved. “We have a forecast [of expenses] that is finite. You have to see that part of the budget to continue.”
Launched by the federal government in early March 2018, in an effort to combat the humanitarian crisis provoked by the Venezuelan migratory wave, Operation Acolhida is coordinated by the Humanitarian Logistics Task Force, an initiative that brings together several ministries and federal, state and municipal agencies.
Actions to support Venezuelans arriving in Brazil, fleeing the economic crisis and political instability in the neighboring country, include the provision of meals, shelter and medical care, the regularization of the situation of immigrants who manifest a desire to remain in Brazil, and redistribution of families to other regions.
The Operation Acolhida involves approximately 600 militaries of the Aeronautics, the Army and the Navy. The actions are also responsible for the service stations and shelters for Venezuelans.
During the interview, the ministers and the governor highlighted the concern about the state’s energy dependence on Venezuela, which supplies the region: half of the electricity consumed in Roraima comes from the neighboring country. The rest is produced by thermoelectric plants and costs five times more than hydroelectric.
According to the governor, one solution is the resumption of construction of the transmission line from the Tucuruí plant in the state of Amazonas to Boa Vista. There are 700 kilometers of works, abandoned since 2011 and that, when they are resumed, should take three years to complete.
Governor Antonio Denarium evaluated that, in addition to guaranteeing energy autonomy, the construction of the so-called Linhão de Tucuruí could boost local industry and create jobs.
“We will be able to attract new investors and at the same time give energy security to the state. With the Linhão de Tucuruí, we will be able to attract the industry to Roraima, increasing food production, agribusiness and the processing of various products. ”
In the region of Linhao do Tucurui, there are about 500 to 600 Venezuelans per day in search of shelter and opportunities in Brazil. Less than 5% of them are in Roraima.
According to the official data, most of the immigrants who enter the Brazilian territory seek to go to other states and countries. Colombia is the most sought after place for them in the Americas.
Since 2017, 180,000 Venezuelans have migrated through Pacaraima. According to the most recent surveys, of this total 5,800 are in Roraima and 4,2 thousand were taken to another 15 states, through internalization.