Venezuela Regime Forms Emigration Police to Try to Stop Fleeing Refugees
Break the law to reach the border then meet the emigration police
By Carlos Camacho
Latin American Herald Tribune
October 6, 2018
CARACAS -- In the midst of the worst exodus in Western Hemisphere history, the embattled Nicolas Maduro regime announced Friday it was creating an “emigration police” force, raised the price of a passport 400,000% and announced that those Venezuelans who want a passport will have to purchase the U.S.-banned cryptocurrency Petro to pay for it.
Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced that the new “emigration police” will start functioning “immediately”, to “take care of the 72 checkpoints that exist in the border (with Colombia and Brazil) as well as in ports and airports.” The new agency will work together with the existing SAIME, who will deal with identification and foreign visitors, while the “emigration police” will take care of “migratory control”, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, her predecessor in the VP office Tarek El Aissami, Nicolas Maduro and some 95 additional Venezuelans have all been sanctioned by the US, the European Union, Panama and/or Switzerland.
A new passport will set the average Venezuelan back the equivalent of two “Petros” or 7,200 Bolivares Soberanos, or four months of minimum wage in a nation where almost 90% of the workforce makes the minimum. The renewal of a passport will cost half that, one Petro or two months of minimum wage: Bs S 3,600.
REACH THE BORDER?
So, for Venezuelans wanting to escape Venezuela, they will have to break U.S. law (buy Petros) to reach the border, only to be met there by a newfangled law enforcement agency created by a government being investigated by the United Nations and the International Penal Court for human rights abuses, which is bound to stop people from leaving if they don't have a passport.
The U.S. banned the Petro as soon as Maduro announced it earlier this year.
In Caracas, analysts say some 5 million -- roughly 17% of the oil-rich nation’s population of almost 32 million -- have already left Venezuela.
Venezuela has been accused by Colombia -- the neighboring country that already hosts more than 1 million escaping Venezuelans -- of withholding passports on purpose to keep its citizens trapped inside the humanitarian-crisis-cum-hyperinflation wracked nation.
A dozen Latin American nations took the step weeks ago of agreeing to admit Venezuelans with expired passports, but Peru went a step further Friday, saying those without passports are also welcome.
Caracas’ new restrictions give weight to Colombia’s allegations of Maduro closing the border on the sly as the Venezuela Regime seeks to hide the fact that people -- unable to vote to end the Communist narcotrafficking dictatorship -- are voting with their feet.