In Peru, rise of xenophobic acts against Venezuelans

In recent days, aggression against Venezuelan nationals is raising fears of a wave of xenophobia in the country, the second host country Venezuelans after Colombia.

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Food distribution to Venezuelan migrants upon arrival at the Lima Bus Station, August 26, 2018.
Food distribution to Venezuelan migrants upon arrival at the Lima Bus Station, August 26, 2018. TEO BIZCA / AFP

On 21 September Oriana Rosas Perez, a 20-year-old Venezuelan woman, is attacked in the streets of Cajamarca, in the north of the country. She was allegedly taken by public security agents who ordered her to return to her home country and beat her severely. A filmed aggression that ignited social networks and created a strong emotion in the Venezuelan community.

A few days later, another video shows alleged military distributing xenophobic leaflets, urging Venezuelans to leave the country. If the Ministry of Defense dismissed the fact that they are members of the army, the discomfort is installed among Venezuelan nationals. Because these acts are not isolated. In Tacna, on the Chilean border, a march against insecurity on September 27 is overflowing. You can read on streamers: " (Nicolas) Maduro, get your garbage cans » or "Outside the" venecos "", derogatory term for Venezuelans.

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These acts highlight the climate of tension with Venezuelan migrants, whose number rises, according to the UN, to more than 800,000 people, making Peru the second host country in the world, after Colombia. Of these, 280,000 applied for refugee status. However, if the International Organization for Migration predicts an increase in their numbers in 2019, the flow of admissions to Peru has narrowed since June, due to the tightening of reception conditions and the requirement of a humanitarian visa. .

"Unfounded accusations"

In Caracas, the government of Nicolas Maduro has accused the Peruvian authorities of being accomplices or instigators of these acts "Shameful and inhuman", through "Their hate campaigns". Peru responded with an equally vehement statement rejecting "These unfounded accusations", formulated by a "Illegitimate and dictatorial regime, sole responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe".

Carlos Scull, the diplomatic representative of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido in Peru – whom Lima recognizes as acting president – is asking for reason. " We must not generalize ", he wrote on Twitter, saying that Peru is not a xenophobic country. He recalled that, so far, Peru has supported Venezuelans and shown solidarity with them. At the same time, he called for urgent measures to prevent such attacks and provide them with greater protection.


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