More Venezuelans to head home in mid-July

In this file photo, Venezuelans wave
In this file photo, Venezuelans wave "adios" to TT as they prepare to board a repatriation flight at Piarco International Airport - Photo by Sureash Cholai

TT and Venezuelan authorities are making final arrangements for shipping hundreds of Venezuelans who want to go home in mid-July.

Officials from the Venezuelan embassy in Port of Spain told Newsday on Monday the travel plan is under way.

"The objective is in a period of three weeks, in mid-July, a Venezuelan vessel comes to TT for a large number of Venezuelans who want to return to their country," said the source.

Up to Monday, the embassy had received 700 requests from people who want to return to Venezuela.

This will be the second repatriation trip for Venezuelans in 2021. On February 27, a Piarco-Caracas flight transported 95 people, including three children.

Three weeks ago, Newsday reported there are three separate lists with a total of 8,000 registered Venezuelans awaiting approval to return to their country. One list is officially managed by the Venezuelan embassy.

Another registered group, being organised by the NGO by La Casita de Arima, has 1,200 applications and the Puerto Caribe company has a third list of more than 6,500 people.

Officials said arrangements for the necessary permits for the July trip being organised by the embassy have already been made between the two governments. The passengers will be transported on a Venezuelan ferry that normally sails domestic routes.

“The idea is to transfer as many people as possible."

The vessel is estimated to have a capacity of more than 700 people.

“The authorities are evaluating the conditions of the ship, the safety and hygiene protocols. It will be something unprecedented, because for the first time there will be such a high number of people moving in the same boat between the two countries,” said an official.

The ferry will depart from one of the main ports of TT and will arrive at a port in eastern Venezuela yet to be decided. Cumana or Puerto La Cruz are possible destinations.

Officials said there is a possibility the boat will arrive in Trinidad with covid19 rapid tests for all travellers. There will be an isolation area on board in the event of any covid19 cases, and on arriving in Venezuela the health authorities will enforce precautions.

"It is a considerable number of people, including Venezuelans registered in the amnesty process (granted by the TT government in 2019) and the objective is all who want to and have the urge to return home can leave."

People interested in returning to Venezuela can continue registering with the embassy. Embassy officials said after confirming the details of the trip, they would call those selected.


"More Venezuelans to head home in mid-July"

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