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Ecuador hardens the control of immigration for Venezuelans after femicide

On Sunday Ecuador strengthened immigration measures for Venezuelans following a femicide at the hands of a man of that nationality, which generated citizens' rejection and signs of xenophobia.

"I organized the immediate formation of brigades to monitor the legal situation of Venezuelan immigrants in the streets, workplaces and on the border," President Lenin Moreno said on Twitter after the atrocious murder of a pregnant woman from a Venezuelan.

He added that his government is also analyzing "the possibility of creating a special permit to enter the country" for Venezuelans, who until now can enter Ecuador only by presenting their identity document.

The president, who went to Switzerland to attend the Davos Forum on Saturday, did not offer details about the type of brigades that will be created.

The Interior Minister, Maria Paula Romo, said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries work "in order to have a special permit, which allows you to respect the rights related to free mobility, but at the same time allows us ( …) guarantees the rights of Ecuadorian citizens in the best possible way ".

Around midnight on Saturday in Ibarra (north) a Venezuelan assassinated to stab wounds to a pregnant Ecuadorian when he was surrounded by police who pointed him with his arms and who did not act to avoid crime in the middle of the road .

On Sunday, another Venezuelan also wounded a woman with a knife to rob him in Cuenca (southern city and third in Ecuador), according to the local press.

– citizen refusal –

The Ibarra incident has triggered gestures of xenophobia and the refusal of the citizens, who came to assail Venezuelan migrants with stones, who started to leave the Andean city.

"People are screaming obscenities, because they did not want to see us last night, they threw stones at us, we paid for them all," said Venezuelan Juan Pablo Rua in the statements published by the Ecuadorian daily El Universo.

Bringing some personal belongings, Rúa and ten other compatriots in Ibarra decided to walk the Panamericana Norte road, which leads to the border with Colombia, he added.

Residents have evicted foreigners from parks where they slept, burned objects of some of them and pursued them in the north of the city to demand that they leave, according to the newspaper.

In Quito, a march called in advance to protest against violence against women, faced with a recent multiple violation, led to the rejection of femicide.

"Ecuador is and will be a country of peace, I will not allow any antisocial to take it away from us, and the integrity of our mothers, daughters and companions is my priority," said Moreno.

– Open doors –

For the Venezuelans "we have opened the doors, but we will not sacrifice the safety of anyone", said the head of state, who will visit the University of Salamanca, Spain, next Friday, after the Davos Forum.

Ecuador estimates that 300,000 Venezuelans remain in its territory and have fled the political and economic crisis of their nation.

Between 2014 and 2018 over 1.2 million Venezuelans entered Ecuador, according to the Foreign Ministry, which granted approximately 97,000 visas to signatories of this nationality.

The governor has disputed that the police did not act to prevent the murder of the woman.

"It is the duty of the police to act harshly against crime and crime, and they have my support, we will apply the full weight of the law to those who have done nothing against the violence, injustice and criminal activity of the power, "he said.

Minister Romo said in principle that the death of the Ecuadorian "should have been avoided with the use of force by the police", that the change of governor (representative of the executive ) and the police chief of the province of Imbabura (whose capital is Ibarra) and "immediate dispatch of special forces" from the police to the area.

After the femicide, the official told the press that the police will buy non-lethal weapons to deal with the situation of insecurity.

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