January 21, 2019 – 7:40
"We have opened the doors for them, but we are not going to sacrifice anyone's safety".
This is what Ecuador's president, Lenin Moreno, said this Sunday about the thousands of Venezuelan migrants currently in that country.
The President's harsh words take place in the context of the hustle and bustle that Ecuador has been experiencing since Saturday night when a pregnant woman was killed in the street by a Venezuelan citizen.
The events occurred in Ibarra, the capital of the province of Imbabura, in the north of the country.
According to local media reports, Diana Carolina, 22, was taken hostage by her ex-partner in the presence of dozens of witnesses and some police officers.
Following the attack, President Moreno said on Twitter that he is analyzing the possibility of creating a special permit to enter the country for Venezuelans.
"I organized the immediate formation of brigades to monitor the legal situation of Venezuelan immigrants in the streets, in the workplace and at the border," he added.
Ecuador estimates that in 2018 just over a million Venezuelans had entered its territory, as part of the massive exodus that the South American country is experiencing, plunged into a deep economic and political crisis.
Many of them have continued their trip to Peru, looking for work and opportunities.
The Ecuadorian authorities have questioned the lack of action of the officers who witnessed the scene, in which the young woman was taken hostage for more than one hour by the aggressor, before being stabbed.
Several videos shared on social networks show some policemen who have locked up the alleged aggressor, but attempts to stop the situation were only verbal.
The Interior Minister, María Paula Romo, criticized the fact that the police did not use force to prevent crime and said that this "could have been avoided".
"When it comes to defending a life or avoiding a crime, the police not only have the power to use force, they have a duty to do it," he tweeted.
The Attorney General of Ecuador, Ruth Palacios, said that the crime "will not go unpunished" and that the attacker will receive the "maximum penalty" for femicide.
Meanwhile, the president of the Venezuelan Association in Ecuador, Daniel Regalado, said that the murder runs the risk of demonizing Venezuelans, due to their lack of legal status.
"These are isolated cases and do not involve the Venezuelan community in Ecuador as a whole," said Regalado in an interview quoted by Reuters.
In 2018 the Ecuadorian government claimed that it would amend the entry requirements in the country, asking Venezuelans to present a passport, but a judge blocked the order.
– Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) 20 January 2019
BBC / Daily News