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Haitians are among the most affected by Brazil's economic crisis

Posted by hougansydney.com on Monday, August 15, 2016 Under: Migration

After the devastating earthquake of January 2010, Brazil became the only country in the world to legally welcomed thousands of Haitian immigrants as part of its relief efforts in the devastated Caribbean country. An estimated 45,000 compatriots took refuge in Brazil following the disaster. It was a win-win situation for Haitians in search of a better life after losing everything, and the Brazilian government which was looking for cheaper workforce to be prepared for the Olympic Games that was to take place in Rio in 2016.

The second largest city in Brazil, has become the Mecca of Haitian migrants. Many have found jobs in construction. Haitians were trained and they worked in the construction or remodeling of several stadiums and other venues that would host the Olympic Games. Other industries in Brazil, such as the meat industry also hired hundreds of Haitian migrants to work in their facilities, paying an average of 1,350 reals, or $ 250 per month.

Brazil in 2016, is a completely different place than in 2010 these days. The South American economic giant has since been plunged into a deep recession and a political crisis, severely affecting its economy.
The president-elect, Dilma Rousseff, has been removed from office following a corruption scandal and investments have plummeted as a result of the political uncertainties.

Haitian immigrants have become one of, if not the most affected group of people by the Brazilian economic recession. Thousands of Haitians who were so happy to come to the land of Pele, have now found that it is almost impossible to live there. Once guaranteed construction gigs are now gone, and even Brazilians are finding it difficult getting employment. A growing number of Haitians in 2015 have also been victims of crimes motivated by hate in Brazil.

Like all migrants, Haitians emigrate in search of better opportunities for themselves, but especially for their families. Barely earning enough to survive and unable to send anything back home, thousands of Haitians living legally in Brazil find it better to leave the country, making the long trip from Brazil through Central America en route to the United States.

Many have died in their long journeys through some of the most dangerous and remote places in the deep forests of South and Central America, as highlighted by the recent international news of five Haitian migrants who were found drowned in Lake Cocibolca after being swept away by the mighty Sapoa river in Nicaragua.

Countries like Panama, Ecuador, Colombia and Nicaragua; compulsory routes for these intercontinental migrants lately have been overwhelmed by the increased number of people without documents. To stem the interests, the authorities refused passage and expelled most of them out. Not to Brazil, the country where they are a legal a resident of, but Haiti, their country of origin; where they have to start all over, mostly from nothing. Last week Colombian immigration authorities gave three to ten days to 900 Haitian migrants to voluntarily leave the country or risk forced eviction.

Despite recent calls by international human rights organisations, such as the International Commission for Human Rights, for South American countries and the US, to make it easier for Cubans and Haitian migrants to reach their destination; However, the scarcity of funds to migration issues mean that nothing is likely to be improved in the near future.

In : Migration