The emergency quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Colombia could be catastrophic for Venezuelans who say they are being evicted by the hundreds.
The quarantine made many of the estimated 1.5 million undocumented Venezuelans almost instantly jobless without them having right to emergency aid granted to Colombian citizens.
In the capital Bogota alone, more than 500 families have been evicted from their hotels since Monday because they couldn’t pay their daily rent, Jorge Ebrath of the National Dissidence Report (RDN) told Colombia Reports on Wednesday.
Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez last week decreed a quarantine drill that kicked off on Friday, but with disastrous consequences for Venezuelan migrants.
We are receiving the reports of all the people, or the largest possible number of people, who have been evicted and I believe that we have already surpassed 500.
Venezuelan migrant representative Jorge Ebrath
The emergency put the Venezuelans, who were allowed in the country but are unable to obtain papers, between a rock and a hard place.
Approximately 90% of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia work informally and are unable to work because this would violate the quarantine, Ebrath told this website.
But if they are evicted because they can’t pay their daily rent, they would also violate the quarantine.
In both cases, they could be expelled to the country where, according to Ebrath, many fear political persecution by the authoritarian government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The RDN begs the vulnerable Venezuelan migrant population be taken into account as they do not only fear expulsion, but also being exposed to the virus if unable to stay inside.
“One thing is to abide by and respect the laws of our brother country and another thing is being thrown out on the streets without any protection and worse, children exposed to the virus during the quarantine,” RDN representative in Washington DC, Luz Marquez, said on Facebook.
Bogota’s city hall, which imposed a quarantine on Friday already, said Tuesday it was working on municipal measures to support Venezuelan migrants but provided no details, according to newspaper El Tiempo.
Other municipal authorities and the national government have yet to respond to the cry for help of the Venezuelan migrants.