Q24N – Over 70 Venezuelan immigrants, part of a total of 89 people who were prevented from entering Panama because they did not meet immigration requirements, are trapped on the border between Costa Rica and Panama after official refused to let them re-enter the country.
Among the rejected are also five Hondurans, three Salvadorans, two Nicaraguans and the rest of several European nationalities.
Most of them reportedly live in Panama, but went to Costa Rica with the intention of reentering with a renewed tourist visa. However, authorities prevented them from entering.
Versions of the local press refer statements of some confessing to the authorities that they carry out illegal work activities as tourists, and travel for three days to Costa Rica every six months to renew their stay with similar visa.
Alfredo Cordoba, Commissioner of Panama’s National Immigration Service in the province of Chiriqui reported that the mass movement of people led them to implement a stricter strategy, as it was clear the Venezuelans were living and working in Panama illegally.
“The computer system that we use for verification determines when people have entered and exited several times in order to renew their six month tourist permits. When that time ends, foreigners must use other alternatives that allow them to legally remain in the national territory.”
Cordoba explained that some Venezuelans did not meet the stipulated requirements needed to enter the country again. The requirements include having a return ticket to your home country or country of residence, having a successful interview with the pertinent authority at the time of entry or proving an economic solvency of US$500.
Chiriquí governor, Hugo Mendez, said he will hold a meeting with immigration officials for an update on the group’s situation, some of which claim to have been trying for more than three days to enter Panama with their papers in order.
Source: La Patilla