A judge in Brazil’s Roraima state closed the border to Venezuelan migrants on Sunday, August 5. According to the judge, the border should be shut until the state can transfer a larger number of immigrants into other parts of Brazil. Roraima State Governor Suely Campos supported the ruling, claiming that the state has been requesting the Supreme Court to close the border and provide increased financial assistance for health and educational services. However, the crossing point remains open to other nationalities and Venezuelans who wish to return to their country. Federal lawyers are appealing the ruling, arguing that closing the border to Venezuelans is discriminatory and counter to federal policies.
Roraima state is a main crossing point for Venezuelans who are fleeing the country. According to state officials, around 500 Venezuelans enter Brazil every day, and many stay in Roraima because they cannot afford to continue traveling into the country. Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima state, reportedly hosts 25,000 Venezuelans, the largest number of migrants in Brazil.
According to humanitarian officials, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees have fled the country since the beginning of the year, with a large percentage taking refuge in Colombia and Brazil. The migrant crisis is expected to worsen throughout 2018 as Venezuela's economy continues to falter. The IMF has estimated that by the end of 2018 the Venezuelan economy will shrink by 15 percent and inflation in the country could reach 1,000,000 percent. Venezuelans face shortages of gasoline, food, medicine, and other basic necessities, as well as extreme rates of violent crime, social unrest, and an ongoing political crisis.
Individuals in Roraima state are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.