Bolsonaro Announces that Brazil Will Close Border with Venezuela

The border will be only open to freight traffic


President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Tuesday (17) that he will close the Brazilian border with Venezuela, due to the coronavirus crisis.

The decision, Bolsonaro said, will not apply to freight traffic. In this way, the border will be closed only to foreigners entering Brazilian territory.

"There will be a concierge tomorrow. The traffic of goods will continue to happen. If the traffic with Venezuela closes, the economy of Roraima slows down," he declared, upon arriving at the Palácio da Alvorada.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Fausto Torrealba - REUTERS

According to the latest WHO (World Health Organization) bulletin, there are only two confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Venezuela.

However, the Brazilian government has shown concern about the possible underreporting of occurrences since the country governed by dictator Nicolás Maduro has been living for years with a serious economic and political crisis.

Venezuela and Brazil share only 90 kilometers of conventional lines - the remainder, more than 2,000 kilometers, is a division of waters. There is only one border crossing between the two countries: between the cities of Pacaraima (in Roraima) and Santa Elena de Uairén.

In recent months, with the worsening crisis in Venezuela, Roraima has started to receive a high flow of Venezuelan refugees.

The presence of a large number of refugees in Boa Vista led several local politicians to defend restrictions on the entry of Venezuelans into the country.

With the pandemic coronavirus, requests for the closure of the overland passage increased.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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