The operation comes days after the Peruvian National Police announced the detention of at least 500 immigrants, most of them Venezuelan nationals, who tried to enter Peru illegally. The Peruvian military authorities indicate that the presence of the units on the border with Ecuador was carried out with the coordination of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces.
“It was decided to reinforce the control measures and the pertinent measures to block the entry of illegal immigrants will continue in the following days,” said the Joint Command of the Peruvian Armed Forces.
In Tumbes, a border region located 1,280 kilometers north of Lima (the country’s capital) and one of the main crossings for hundreds of Venezuelans entering Peru, local media reported on the presence of armored vehicles in the main streets.
The plan includes, in addition to the armored units, the deployment of patrol vehicles and more than 1,200 military personnel who will be displaced up to 30 illegal steps detected in the area by the authorities.
According to the military forces of Peru, the operation, in addition to controlling illegal immigration, seeks to prevent other border phenomena such as smuggling or crime.
Days ago, César Astudillo, head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Peru, participated in a meeting with his Ecuadorian counterpart, General Luis Lara Jaramillo, at the border point between Aguas Verdes and Huaquillas, where the two parties discussed border problems .
According to the EFE news agency, which cites consulted sources, at the moment the deployment of Ecuadorian military units on the border is not planned.
Constant migration despite the closure of borders by Covid-19
In March 2020, the border between Ecuador and Peru was closed as a measure to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak and the passage has not yet been reopened. Even so, in January of this year the Armed Forces of both countries detected and destroyed at least 11 illegal crossings, both of people and vehicles with contraband.
Despite the border closure, the migratory movement has not stopped. The area is the main passage in Peru for hundreds of Venezuelan immigrants who depart from Ecuador to stay in Peruvian territory or to follow other South American nations such as Chile or Argentina.
Faced with the operation deployed, Carlos Scull, ambassador to Peru appointed by the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, asked the Ombudsman to “ensure the human rights of Venezuelans at the border.”
“We agree to a safe migration, but a humanitarian approach that considers cases such as family reunification and refuge has to prevail,” Scull said.
Precisely the Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office issued a statement urging an investigation into the alleged action of the Peruvian military when firing into the air at Venezuelans who were trying to reach the country.
Since 2015, the mobilization of Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in their country has increased throughout the southern part of the continent. According to the Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants of Venezuela, Peru is home to 1,043,460 (August 2020 figure) of the 5.4 million that have left the country, being the second nation with the largest number of citizens of that country. country, after Colombia.
With EFE and AFP