Brazil court bars Venezuelans crossing border

In this file picture taken on May 3, 2018 Venezuelan refugees queue outside the UNHCR’s Jardim Floresta Camp, in Boa Vista, Roraima State, north of Brazil. (Photos: AFP)

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — A Brazilian federal court has ordered a block on Venezuelans crossing the border from their economically imploding country, but there was no indication Monday of the suspension yet taking effect.

The judge, in the northern Brazilian state of Roraima on the Venezuelan border, said in his “provisional” ruling issued on Sunday that the order should take effect immediately.

It applies to land crossings at the border, not air or sea arrivals.

Roraima’s capital Boa Vista has seen its number of inhabitants swell by nearly eight per cent with the arrival of some 25,000 Venezuelans over the past two years.

A government body helping arriving Venezuelans, the Logistics and Humanitarian Task Force, said the suspension had not come into effect by today. It said the government was working to suspend the court order.

Most Venezuelans leaving their country – where food and medicine are scarce and their money, the bolivar, has become practically worthless – do so by crossing at land border points.

It is estimated that around 500 a day cross into Brazil. Most settle in Roraima state, but others go on to other Brazilian states or to other countries such as Argentina or Chile.

The court order has the backing of Roraima’s governor, Suely Campos, who said in a statement that “we have been asking the Supreme Court to close the border since May.”

Brazilian President Michel Temer has said several times that the border with Venezuela would not be closed.

In the first half of this year, 56,740 Venezuelans sought legal status to stay in Brazil, with 35,540 of them applying for refugee status.


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