A row between Brazil and Spain has resulted in dozens of tourists from the two nations being refused entry to one another’s country and deported.
Brazilian police on the weekend blocked five Spanish tourists at the Salvador de Bahia airport and put them on a plane back to Madrid, stating that they did not meet documentary and financial requirements for entry.
Another five Spaniards were deported from the same airport on Friday for the same reasons. And at least another 10 suffered the same fate in the preceding days.
On Monday, Justice Minister Tarso Genro told reporters Brazil could be more rigorously vetting foreigners following a recent high number of deportations of Brazilians from Spain.
“This is not some sort of discrimination against the Spanish. It is just a tightening of controls that is occurring in all countries,” Genro said, dismissing talk of a “crisis” between Brasilia and Madrid.
Brazilian media have reported indignantly on dozens of cases of Brazilians being sent back from Spain, including citizens who reportedly had all their papers in order.
The government declared its “deep displeasure” with the situation on Thursday, a day after another 30 Brazilians were stopped as they arrived in Spain.
Spain’s ambassador, Ricardo Peidro, said his country’s decisions concerning the Brazilians were based on rules, not discrimination.
But the head of the commission, Marcondes Gadelha, told Brazilian website O Globo that Peidro had tightened its immigration controls ahead of its general election on the weekend, which re-elected its Socialist government.
Gadelha reportedly said immigration had been at the heart of campaigning, and that the European Union, through a specialised agency called Frontex, had been pressuring Spain to do more to prevent illegal entries.
He told the commission that of the 110,000 Brazilians currently in Spain, 40,000 of them were there illegally.