Venezuelans entering Peru and Ecuador will soon be required to show their passports, rather than national identity cards, the Ecuadorian government and Peruvian official sources said on Thursday, amid concerns over the rapidly growing influx of economic migrants.
Both countries have hitherto allowed Venezuelans to enter using national ID cards, providing desperate Venezuelans with an easier route out of their crisis stricken homeland.
Unable to afford flights and often earning a minimum wage of just a few dollars a month, Venezuelans have been taking days-long bus rides across South America, many passing through Ecuador on their way south to Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
Peru will require passports from Venezuelans entering the country beginning August 25, the government’s foreign ministry announced Friday morning.
Immigration officials estimated that there are nearly 400,000 Venezuelans in Peru, most of whom entered this year.
About 40 percent of Venezuelans enter Peru without a passport, Peru’s interior minister said earlier this week.
Venezuelans selling food or knick-knacks on the streets have become a common sight in Lima and Quito, raising fears among locals that the migrants could take their jobs and increase crime.
On Thursday, Ecuador officially announced that Venezuelans will be required to show passports to enter the country. “As of this Saturday the government will require that anyone entering Ecuador present his or her passport,” Ecuador’s Interior Minister Mauro Toscanini said. The Foreign Ministry later said it would apply specifically to Venezuelans.
Ecuador declared a state of emergency in three provinces this month after a spike in Venezuelan migrants crossing the Ecuadorean-Colombian border high in the Andean mountains.
Authorities said up to 5,500 Venezuelans were crossing daily, compared with around 500 to 1,000 previously.
An official at Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry told local radio that some 600,000 Venezuelans had entered the country so far this year, with around 140,000 staying on.
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno is left-wing like his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, but he has distanced himself from Caracas since taking office last year.
Centrist Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra took office in March after his predecessor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a vocal critic of Maduro, resigned in a scandal.
Credit: Reuters News