Haitians Blocked From Entering Brazil Stranded In Peru Town

About 200 Haitians in south-eastern Peru are being held back from crossing over to Brazil where a number of their fellow countrymen have migrated in recent weeks to seek jobs, according to newspaper El Comercio.

International media reported earlier this month that around 5,000 Haitians had entered Brazil since the devastating earthquake hit the Caribbean country in 2010. According to the reports, the Haitians often arrived in Ecuador before going to Peru where they would then enter Brazil.

Authorities in Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy, had lax immigration policies for the Haitians seeking jobs in construction and other sectors. However, the inflow of the immigrants put a strain on public services in many local Brazilian towns in the border region.

As a result, over the last two weeks, Brazil’s government has begun to prevent Haitian immigrants from entering the country, leaving them stranded in Peru’s jungle Madre de Dios region, according to El Comercio.

According to the acting Minister of Justice in the state of Acre in Brazil, Luiz Paulo Barreto, the Haitians are flown to Quito by Mexican human traffickers and then travel overland into Peru at different unguarded areas before moving south to Madre de Dios and sometimes into the Bolivian jungle to cross over to Brazil at different points along the border.  The Haitians who have been given immigrant registration tend to settle in the cities of Manaos, Porto Velho and Sao Paulo.

“I invested all of my money to come, $3,200. I don’t have any more. I can’t go back to the same misery in my country,” said Fasio Etienne, a 39-year-old Haitian, who is in the Peruvian town of Iñapari. “I just want a job. My friends are bricklayers, I want my family to survive.”

Iñapari’s mayor, Celso Curi, said that the situation is creating a concern for the town of 2,500 people. “We have water two hours a day and now we can’t provide supplies,” he said.

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