Venezuelans are still afraid to get off the road in Ecuador


After four days of the events that took place on Saturday in the city of Ibarra, Ecuador, Venezuelans living in that country still live in fear.

That day, after a compatriot had committed a femicide recorded and transmitted by social networks, the nationality of the perpetrator of the crime became the reason for the rejection of an entire community.

Egleth Noda, a surgeon who has lived in that country for three years and is president of Chamos Venezolanos in Ecuador, compares Ibarra's experience with the "Broken Glass Night" when the Nazis attacked the Jews in November 1938. "We have received messages from many people who have asked for help because they were desperate because they could not leave their homes, they could not open their premises or send their children to school.

He believes that the Ecuadorian society has been sensitized to the Venezuelan issue by several events that have happened since 2017, when some girls have made fun of their ethnic characters and what she defines as the first outbreaks of xenophobia. On this occasion, he says, the government did not have a good response and was responsible for the wave of violence that took place on Saturday with comments that President Lenin Moreno posted on Twitter.

"It is true that there were no deaths, but there are people injured and with psychological trauma, who need help," says the Venezuelan Federation spokesperson in Ecuador. "We have to make it clear that this is not about nationality, but about security", he insists.

Patricia González, a Venezuelan journalist who works for a media company in Quito for two years, also believes that the government of Ecuador has not had a good response. Even he thinks that he has not attacked the root of the problem by his reaction, as it is gender violence, a crime that must be fought wherever it comes from and not attributed to a particular nationality.

"After the weekend events, I think the Venezuelans are afraid, I did not see anyone on Monday in the streets of Quito, where they usually sell junk or sing in exchange for a suggestion," says González. "The life of migrants is very difficult, that's why we ask for a little solidarity, which does not make us hostile to life," he adds.

"Unfounded accusations". The chancellor of Ecuador, José Valencia, yesterday rejected the accusations of the Maduro government that his country encourages xenophobia against Venezuelan migrants.

"It is absurd that you want to tip Ecuador on something wrong with the spirit or the way of thinking and acting of Ecuadorians," said Valencia, who is at the World Economic Forum in Davos and whose statements are been disseminated by the Secretary of Communication.

After the murder committed in Ibarra, the government of President Moreno began to ask Venezuelans who want to enter Ecuador the apostille of the criminal record. Before they could do it only with ID. He also announced brigades to check his legal situation.

In response to the measures, Caracas said that the decision by Moreno "instigated a spiral of xenophobic violence against the Venezuelan immigrant community".

Valencia considered that these were "groundless accusations".

Return to the country The Embassy of Venezuela in Ecuador estimates that 500 people will return this week to the country as part of the Vuelta a la Patria plan. The Chargé d 'Affaires, Pedro Sassone, said that they must have accelerated the process because of the tension generated by the femicide last Saturday.

Today, he informed, three planes will start with 230 passengers and Saturday 270 others will arrive in Caracas.

In Ecuador, according to data from the International Organization for Migration, it is estimated that currently 300,000 Venezuelans live.

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