Venezuelans rush to Peru before new passport rule kicks in

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

15:24 | Tumbes (Tumbes region), Aug. 24.

Traveling through Colombia and Ecuador, thousands of Venezuelan citizens dash to get into Peru before Saturday, when a new migratory measure will come into force in the Inca nation.

Tons of Venezuelan nationals arrived at the Binational Border Attention Center (CEBAF) in Peru's Tumbes region (border with Ecuador) hours before the new entry rule —requiring them to show passports instead of national ID cards— takes effect in the country.

Migrants —mostly youngsters and some with their children— leave Venezuela seeking a better life in Peruvian territory.

Many have walked for almost 20 days, while others traveled in precarious buses, or even hitch-hiked to get to the border.

"I came backpacking through Colombia and Ecuador, as all Venezuelans do," said Edgar Torres, a 22-year-old teacher who was happy to arrive before the tightening of immigration rules. 

He and his traveling companions had no money or passports.

Once at CEBAF, Torres had to wait for 12 hours in line to get his entry card. 

While in the line, migrants rested, slept, spruced themselves, and tried to get something to eat.

Torres had his first warm meal in 10 days when volunteers from a church in Tumbes gave him soup. 

According to official sources, some 2,500 Venezuelans a day have entered Peru over the last weeks, but the number spiked the day before the country announced the passport requirement.

Long walks, carrying heavy backpacks and dragging their luggage, have hurt travelers' feet and ankles.

The control point at the border is not the end of their journey. After that, Venezuelans need to reach Tumbes City before heading to Lima (Peru's capital city) or other destinations.

Published: 8/24/2018
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