Brazil, Venezuela partially reopen border
The border was closed on December 13, ordered by Venezuela's
Published on 03/01/2017 - 16:05 By Débora Brito reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília
The border between Brazil and Venezuela, which had been closed by President Nicolas Maduro on December 13, was partially reopened after the New Year's holiday. The import and export sectors have been reactivated, and the international gas station at Santa Elena de Uiaren, Venezuela, reopened today (Jan. 3).
When the international gas station closed, there has been a considerable repercussion on social media as it is the only gas supplier of Pacaraima, the main Brazilian city bordering Venezuela. Without gasoline, the commerce and traffic in Pacaraima have almost stopped. Police officers who work in the region threaten to close the border on the Brazilian side in retaliation for accessing the gas station.
According to Verónica Caro, extraordinary secretary of International Relations of the state government of Roraima, who has maintained regular contact with Venezuelan authorities, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro is expected to release a statement until tomorrow (4) on the possibility of reopening the border. "Seventy percent of the border is already open, but the president has to make the announcement to fully reopen it. We have to wait," said the secretary.
Maduro decided to close the border between Venezuela and Brazil on December 13. According to the decree, the closure, originally scheduled to last 72 hours, was part of an action against smuggling mafias from both countries. Since then, traffic is only for pedestrians and transport of food.
A Venezuelan woman who works in a bank in the town of Santa Elena de Uairen and chose not to be identified told Agência Brasil that many merchants have paid bribes to Venezuelan military officers to cross the border by car or motorcycle. "The Brazilians are outraged because Venezuelan authorities, like police officers, cross it by car and motorcycle, and Brazilians can only cross it walking, but if they pay, they can cross it by car," she said.
The decision to close the border ended up reducing the flow of Venezuelan immigrants who are entering Brazil to escape Venezuela's political-economic crisis. In the last two years, some 30,000 Venezuelans have moved to the state of Roraima. About 5,000 to 10,000 Venezuelans are estimated to live only in Boa Vista, the state capital. This number may be even higher, because many people enter the country without registration.
Translated by Amarílis Anchieta
Fonte: Brazil, Venezuela partially reopen border
Edition: Valéria Aguiar / Nira Foster