Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Feel the Bern: Venezuelans, Go Home: Xenophobia Haunts Refugees

For decades, the oil-rich citizens of a great nation were stereotyped by their poorer neighbors as haughty. Now comes the payback.

By Ezra Fieser and Matthew Bristow ‎March‎ ‎05‎, ‎2018‎

Mr. Saik touched a raw nerve when he released “La Chama.” Panama’s hit single is about a Venezuelan woman who “fears nothing but immigration officers,” and “was famous in her own country but here does something else” — the something else presumably being prostitution.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing economic collapse are crowding into cities and makeshift camps in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and throughout the region, the largest mass emigration in modern Latin American history.............In Colombia, Venezuelans trying to get by selling snacks on public transport have been set upon by local vendors. Peruvian media showed video of a fist fight on a bus after a man got into a shouting match with Venezuelan passengers, accusing them of fleeing their country “like rats.” In Trinidad and Tobago, authorities have rounded up migrants suspected of being in the country illegally, deporting some and imprisoning others, Living Water Community, a human rights group said.............

Bitterness surfaced on social media in 2015 when a Venezuelan woman in Panama posted angry messages on Facebook, saying that without migrants, Panamanians would be “living in a desert, eating bananas like the monkeys they are.”

Furious locals mounted a campaign to have her thrown out of the country. She was eventually expelled under a law that allows deportation of any migrant who incites racial, cultural or political hatred.

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