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Venezuela slams Peru for fomenting ‘xenophobic’ acts against migrants

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Peruvian police close the Pan American highway north of the city of Tumbes, close to the border with Ecuador, at midnight on June 14, 2019, in order to stop the flow of undocumented Venezuelan nationals. (Photo by AFP)

Caracas has slammed Peruvian authorities for stirring up “xenophobia” against a large population of Venezuelan migrants, who have left their home country due to economic hardship in recent years.

The Venezuelan government issued a statement on Sunday to denounce the “shameful and inhuman acts” against Venezuelans in Peru, after videos surfaced on social media apparently showing a Venezuelan woman being beaten in the street at night, a street-seller complaining of harassment by police, and pamphlets urging the migrants’ exit.

“These are shameful and inhuman acts, permitted or committed by Peruvian government authorities and encouraged by hate campaigns against Venezuelans,” said Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in the statement.

“Venezuela denounces the Peruvian government for violating and neglecting its international responsibilities by promoting and allowing acts of segregation and xenophobia,” he added.

The statement also said various “racist” governments in the region were working with Venezuela’s opposition figure Juan Guaido, who pushed the country into political turmoil in January by rejecting the outcome of the May 2018 presidential election, which President Nicolas Maduro had won.

Guido went as far as declaring himself interim president in January. The US along with its European and regional allies — including Peru — backed his power grab bid and have been pressing Maduro to step down.

Reacting to Caracas, the Foreign Ministry of Peru — which hosts some 850,000 Venezuelan migrants — issued a statement and rejected “the unfounded accusations of xenophobia.”

Venezuela has been struggling under severe economic contraction, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items as a result of the American economic sanctions, a situation that has prompted millions of people to flee to neighboring countries for better life conditions.

In an effort to force Venezuela’s elected president out of office, Washington has further tightened its unilateral bans, the latest of which saw Washington freeze all Venezuelan government assets in the US and ban commercial transactions.

The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has criticized Washington’s latest sanctions, saying the restrictive measures are “likely to significantly exacerbate the crisis for millions of ordinary Venezuelans.”

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