The national borders shared by Brazil and Venezuela in the northern state of Roraima were once again opened after they were ordered closed in a Sunday (Aug. 5) ruling by Judge Helder Girão Barreto. In his decision, the trial court judge said, “When it comes to immigration, the federal government is allowed to do anything, whereas state and city governments are forced to endure.” A federal court reversed the move.
The new ruling was brought into force at around 10 am local time this morning (7), reported police in border town Pacaraima. The decision to reopen the frontier comes as a result of an appeal filed yesterday by Brazil’s Attorney-General’s Office on Barreto’s preliminary injunction.
Also today, Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber rejected a request lodged in April by Roraima government officials to bar Venezuelans coming to the country.
In her ruling, Weber argues that, in addition to the lack of legal substance on which to base the injunction before further legal consideration, the motion also contravenes “constitutional principles, the Brazilian law, and treaties ratified by Brazil.”
When the case was submitted to the Brazilian Supreme Court, Justice Weber went as far as to hold a conciliation meeting between the federal government—who opposed shutting the borders—and the Roraima state government.
In a note released before Weber’s decision, Human Rights Minister Gustavo Rocha said that President Michel Temer described closing the borders as a matter “out of discussion.” The minister argued for the “importance of enforcing human rights and ensuring foreigners are given access to basic services.”
The state of Roraima has been the gateway for Venezuelans coming into Brazil to flee the political and economic crisis assailing the neighboring country.