An analysis carried out by FGV’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (DAPP) revealed that the arrival of Venezuelan immigrants to Northern Brazil, particularly in Roraima, has placed the otherwise sidelined topic of migration under the spotlight of public debate in the country, since late January. Much of the amplification of this debate was restructured due to the political undertone of Samba school parades in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Brazilian president’s trip to Roraima.
Between January 22 and February 19, the 58,900 posts on Venezuelan migration to Brazil were analyzed: 2,000 from news reporting/informative blogs (3.4%), 5,800 from news outlets (10%), and 51,000 posts on Twitter (86.6%). Despite the majority of posts being opposed to the arrival of Venezuelans, opinions are somewhat scattered due to different influencers involved in the debate. The harshest opinions targeted the Venezuelan government and the population’s current state of emergency, instead of the issue of migration itself.
Social media mentions on this particular subject peaked on February 13, on Carnaval Tuesday, soon after the parades of Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro – in light of the protesting overtone shown in this year’s parades. Meanwhile, different media outlets pointed out the broad range of problems that currently plague Roraima.
The conditions of extreme poverty of Venezuelans arriving in Roraima also stirred up social media users. 17% of users (10,100 posts) talked about the poverty and malnutrition of refugees both in Venezuela and Roraima. A smaller group of users reacted against demonstrations of prejudice and xenophobia against Venezuelans: 2,400 posts highlighted this particular issue.