Brazil Gets Tough on Haitians and Only 2 (Two) Visas Are Granted

Haitians in Peru Brazil, on January 13, announced measures to limit the number of Haitians entering the country. Among the new rules: a visa requirement. The Ministry of Foreign Relations reports that a total of exactly two visas have been issued to Haitians since the new rules went into effect. The visas issued are temporary work visas valid for five years.

Beginning January 13, all requests for visas by Haitians had to made at the Brazilian embassy in Port-au-Prince. That creates a small problem for the thousands of Haitians already in Brazil or stuck at the border in Colombia, Peru or Bolivia.

In a note the ministry said it expected the demand for the visas, in Porto-au-Prince, of course, to climb sharply as soon as people there understood the rules.

However, Brazil will limit the number of visas issued to Haitians to 100 per month. One of the requirements for obtaining a visa is a clean criminal record.

With a visa in hand, a Haitian citizen can bring a wife, husband or companion, mother and father, and children up to the age of 24, as long as they are financially dependent, unmarried and students. Foreigners who enter Brazil without a visa can be deported.

Some 4,000 Haitians have entered Brazil recently, fleeing the devastation and chaos in Haiti two years after the 2010 earthquake. Some 1,600 have received humanitarian residency visas issued by the Ministry of Labor.

Most of the Haitians have come into Brazil at the border towns of Tabatinga, in the state of Amazonas near the border with Peru and Colombia, or at Brasiléia, in the state of Acre, on the border with Bolivia.

Haiti has been plagued by dictators and political violence for most of its history. In February 2004, an elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was ousted in a rebellion.

Since then, a United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH), led by Brazilian troops, has been in the country. In 2006 a democratically elected government took office. But in January 2010 a massive earthquake, with its epicenter just 15 kilometers from the capital, Port-au-Prince, devastated the country.

Close to 100,000 people died (among the dead were 85 members of MINUSTAH, including 18 Brazilian soldiers). Around one million people were left at least temporarily homeless.

It is estimated that as many as 350,000 building collapsed or were damaged as the earthquake struck the most populated part of the country. Two years later things have not improved for most Haitians and that is why they are coming to Brazil.



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