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Friday, 26 February, 2021

Murders and threats increase tension between Peruvians and Venezuelans

With more than one million Venezuelan migrants now, Peru is, after Colombia, the country with the second-largest number of Venezuelan exodus. Recently, there have been protests, xenophobic acts, and even murders.

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Tensions have increased between Venezuelans and Peruvians after two high-profile murders and public death threats. Additionally, there have been protests against the presence of Venezuelan migrants in Peru, including the stoning of the Venezuelan embassy in Lima on Saturday, February 20.

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Regarding these situations, the Sunday, February 21, Carlos Scull, diplomatic representative of Juan Guaido, requested the protection of Venezuelan citizens in the Peruvian nation, saying those are families who were forced to leave their country due to the economic and political crisis.

It is worth noting that Peru is, after Colombia, the country that hosts the most Venezuelans, with more than one million migrants arriving since 2016, according to data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Peru kept its border with Ecuador closed since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and last January sent military and armored vehicles to block the clandestine passages through which hundreds of migrants entered daily, mostly Venezuelans, according to authorities.

The tension increased after the video shared on social networks showing the murder of a Venezuelan, Orlando Abreu Suarez. The murder took place in the northern city of Trujillo, Peru, allegedly for refusing to pay extortion money to a Peruvian criminal nicknamed “Cara Cortada” (Scarface).

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Another recording showed how a Peruvian, Silvano Cantaro, was thrown from a bridge, a crime allegedly committed by Venezuelan hitmen in Colombia, and recorded with a cell phone.

After this last event, a protest took place in Lima, with dozens of people demanding to expel illegal Venezuelans with criminal records from Peru. Also, the demonstrators chanted slogans against the presence of Venezuelans in the country.

From that moment on, alleged criminals of both nationalities published videos and messages on social networks with mutual death threats.

During the night of the protest – on February 20- another threat against a Venezuelan man occurred. In this case, it was a food delivery man. The client, apparently in drunkenness, pointed a gun against the delivery man.

Maduro rejected the violent acts and asked the Peruvian authorities to guarantee the safety of its diplomatic personnel. They also recalled the fulfillment of the international commitments acquired by the Peruvian State towards migrant populations.

On the other hand, Carlos Scull, a diplomatic in Peru of National Assembly President Juan Guaido, recognized by the Peruvian government as acting President of Venezuela, stated that he already requested the authorities to investigate this situation. Scull also addressed Venezuelans to try “to seek integration but always asking for justice” for all.

The representative of the organization Union Venezolana in Peru, Oscar Perez, asked for justice and calm for these last incidents, among them that of the threatened delivery man, whom he accompanied in his denunciation together with Scull.

The Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office also condemned the acts of xenophobia against Venezuelans and ordered an investigation into the protests against the migrants to proceed with the application of sanctions.

In the afternoon of February 21, Peruvian police reported that they captured Oscar Narro, known as “Cara Cortada,” allegedly responsible for the murder of Venezuelan businessman Orlando Antonio Abreu Sánchez, 26.

Information from EFE.

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