Photo: Lincoln Holder / T&T Newsday

29 Expelled Venezuelans Returned to Trinidad

From the confusing incident, we only draw clear conclusions: Venezuelans are suffering; the island’s government is xenophobic and; the regime is indifferent; The AN asked Trinidad to stop the abuses

  • After a two-day odyssey, 16 Venezuelan minors and some adults returned to Trinidad and Tobago. They were expelled on November 22nd. A ruling by judge Avason Quinlan-Williams ordered security forces to allow the group of migrant women and children to return to the island and solve the rest of their case there. Newspaper T&T Newsday collected part of the testimonies, who said they barely slept. Keren Gobin, 17 years old, said: “We could have drowned. It rained last night. We covered the children and tried to protect them with our bodies. We didn’t have much food.” Some of the minors arrived with dehydration, most were bit by mosquitoes and the four-month-old has an allergic reaction. UNHCR said that the Trinidadian government must allow the migrant children to reunite with their families as did David Smolansky, who insisted that the island’s authorities must protect them and guarantee families the right to reunite.
  • Since Monday, there’s been two different versions of this story: the one that caused concern, insisting that Venezuelans were stranded and missing for over 40 hours. It moved us as a community, but with every fact collected on Tuesday about the limited food supply and fuel of the only boat they had left (the second boat malfunctioned), the first version is unlikely. There’s another version confirmed by Radio Fe y Alegría, establishing that the group arrived to Delta Amacuro state and was stranded on Barra Mariusa. From there, they talked to their families in Trinidad and Tobago, and were told that the judge ordered their return. This second version denies that they were ever missing at sea. It’s not the same thing being lost at sea than waiting in a private residence, going missing vs. having to hide from Venezuelan authorities. Never forget what Venezuelan migrants are running from. 
  • AN Speaker and caretaker President Juan Guaidó explained that the Trinidad and Tobago government “regrettably committed this atrocity despite a judge forbidding it”  and accused this country of being an accomplice of the dictatorship. Foreign Relations Commissioner Julio Borges demanded the Trinidadian Foreign Ministry to stop abuses against Venezuelan migrants and to fast track the investigation. He exhorted the government to protect these people. The National Assembly approved opening an investigation on the 16 deported minors and the women, and condemned the case before international authorities. Deputies also approved a formal complaint to Paula Mae Weekesy and her Prime Minister Keith Rowley. 
  • Stuart Young, the Trinidad National Security Minister, pretended he had nothing to do with the events and insinuated this could be a human trafficking case: “I didn’t put one person in a boat. I know my responsibilities and those aren’t it (…) I saw what Juan Guaidó said, but we don’t know what he’s talking about. He insisted that any person who illegally enters the country “immediately becomes an undesirable person” and must face the consequences. He also issued a warning: “To Venezuelans on the island we say: if we find out that you’re helping your undocumented countrymen, your permit will be revoked and you’ll be deported,” he added, disregarding the fact that Trinidad is a signatory of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Despite the scandal, chavismo remains silent. 
  • NGO Medicins Sans Frontiers explained that they requested work permits for the essential personnel starting 2020 in Venezuela and they didn’t get an answer, so they decided to leave the Pérez de León II Hospital in Petare, Caracas.
  • Delcy Rodríguez reported 355 new cases and four new deaths of coronavirus in the country, for a total of  100,498 cases and 880 deaths they’ve admitted to. 
  • The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that the Russian vaccine Sputnik V showed a 95% efficiency rate 42 days after the first dose and announced it will cost less than 10 dollars. According to them, it will hit the market in January 2021. 
  • China reaffirmed its disposition to cooperate with the WHO and explained that they’re still negotiating that a group of experts could travel to investigate the origins of coronavirus. A WHO team already visited China in February and July to investigate, but nobody provided any details after the trips. 
  • Believe it or not, 11 days to go before the “election,” we still don’t know the amount of voting machines in the country. Since this isn’t a democratic election but an agreement between chavismo and its accomplices, party representatives before the CNE haven’t even asked the council to provide the information they need. 
  • Consecomercio proposed meetings with representatives of the regime to find a solution to the security, education, services crises and the economy. “In January, there could be a structured and constant dialogue process to reach a solution, where all sectors intervene,” said Consecomercio president Felipe Capozzolo.
  • During the AN session on Tuesday, the National Assembly called on citizens to not participate in the “election”, ratifying it isn’t an election but a fraud that intends to kill the only legitimate power left in Venezuela. “Maduro didn’t decide to hold elections but to steal the National Assembly,” said first vice president of the AN Juan Pablo Guanipa. The second vice president, Carlos Berrizbeitia, asked deputies to tour the country and “raise your voice to say that it isn’t an election on December 6th, but a fraud” and to promote the national consultation that will take place between December 7th and December 12th. Deputies agreed on calling citizens to abandon the regime with their joke of a process, delegitimize with their absence this new maneuver by the regime and to participate in the consultation. By the way, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, reaffirmed today that his country considers this “election” doesn’t meet the democratic conditions and because of the Venezuelan situation getting worse, his government is looking to impose new sanctions against Nicolás’s regime.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.