There are 35 Haitians in Brasileia, state of Acre, a Brazilian frontier town, awaiting documents so they can legally get work and stay in Brazil. They have shelter, bathrooms and three meals a day provided by the government of the state of Acre.
Every other day a water truck delivers 7,000 liters (1849 gallons) of water that is used for bathing and washing clothes.
The same cannot be said of some 100 Haitians who are across the Acre River in Peru. In fact, the Acre state secretary of Justice and Human Rights, Nilson Mourão, is drawing up a document that will be sent to the Organization of American States’ Court of Human Rights, accusing the government of Peru of not providing basic assistance to Haitians camped in Peru near the Brazilian border in the town of Iñapari.
Mourão says that at least four Haitians have been hospitalized in the Brazilian town of Assis Brasil, which is just across the river from Peru. The Haitians were in coma, suffering from malnutrition.
The Haitians on the Brazilian side of the border in Brasileia say that they underwent great hardships to reach Brazil because the situation in Iñapari was just as bad as it was back in Haiti.
Obelca Jules, 30, a bricklayer, explained that he and his wife along with six other relatives decided it was impossible to stay in Peru.
Although their situation is better in Brazil, the Haitians complain about the flavor of the food they get. Vil Saint Clenord, 26, an electrician, says that most of the Haitians eat without much appetite.
He says that some of the Haitians have gone to the local hospital with stomach aches but the doctors tell them there is nothing wrong and send them home.
The state of Acre is spending around R$ 370 (US$ 185) per day to give them 72 meals. Some locals have complained about the money being spent on foreigners when it could be spent in the city.
On the Brazilian side there have been some complaints about the Haitians not being very clean and leaving garbage. But on the Peruvian side the situation is worse as there are problems with what they call Haitian troublemakers and fighting.
On the other hand, Ercília Lima Barroso, who works in a bakery in Brasiléia, says the Haitians and the town have gotten used to each other and she has made friends with some of them.
“They don’t cause problems. The other night two of them came to my house to ask for water. They were very polite,” she reports, adding that out of the 2,700 Haitians that have already gotten documents and left the city to find work elsewhere at least two married local girls.
“They like blondes,” she said, “One of them married a woman who was 40, the other married one that was 35.”