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Fear Of Indian Influx Prompts Governor To Bus Them Home

August 24, 1994

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Fearing an influx of Indian beggars into Caracas, officials are forcibly busing them back to their jungle homes.

About 200 Indians, mainly from the Warao tribe, have been camping in parks and begging in streets, where social workers say they can make more money in a few days than most workers make in a month.

Federal District Gov. Asdrubal Aguiar said Indians have been bused back to their homes in the northeast jungles of Venezuela, but many find a way back.

″This has become a public order problem,″ Aguiar told reporters. He called on the governors in the Indians’ home states to meet the needs of the tribes and prevent them from coming to the capital.

″If I permanently maintain this circuit of free return of the Indians to their homes, all the indigenous communities will arrive,″ Aguiar said.

Erasmo Cruz Sanchez, a Warao leader, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the tribe, which lives near the Orinoco River delta on the country’s northeast coast, desperately needs food and equipment to survive.

The Indians would return home voluntarily if the government meets their requests, he said.

But Teodoro Pearco, director of the government’s Indigenous Affairs office, said middlemen were bringing some Indians to beg in the capital in exchange for a cut of the money.

Venezuela has about 315,000 Indians. The Warao tribe numbers 24,000.

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