Source: Tico Times
BRASÍLIA — Brazil will welcome Syrian refugees with “open arms,” President Dilma Rousseff said Monday, as various Latin American nations sought to help with the human tidal wave fleeing the war-torn country.
In a video message marking Brazil’s Independence Day, Rousseff said she wanted to “reiterate the government’s willingness to welcome those who, driven from their homeland, want to come live, work and contribute to the prosperity and peace of Brazil.”
“Especially in these difficult times, these times of crisis, we have to welcome refugees with open arms,” she added.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered his foreign ministry to take steps to receive 20,000 Syrians in the country.
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, meanwhile, said her country also would be willing to accept refugees, without specifying a number or nationality.
“Throughout our history, we have always had our doors open to those, sometimes coming from far away places, bringing their history and cultural to the construction of our nation,” Bachelet said.
Leaders of Chile’s Arab community, which numbers around 300,000 people, approached the government recently with a plan to offer shelter and support to about 100 refugee families from Syria.
Brazil has taken in more than 2,000 Syrian refugees since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, more than any other country in Latin America.
Currently, Syrians are the largest refugee group in Brazil. In 2014 alone, 1,405 were given refuge.