Shot Venezuelan boy Yaelvis Santoyo, 1, laid to rest

REST NOW MY SON: Yermi Santoya bids a final farwell to his son Yaelvis. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE -
REST NOW MY SON: Yermi Santoya bids a final farwell to his son Yaelvis. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE -

YERMI Santoyo was inconsolable as he and his relatives gathered to bid a final farewell to his one-year-old son Yaelvis at the Church of the Nazarene in Arima on Friday morning. The child was later buried at the D'Abadie public cemetery.

Santoyo and his son's grandfather Ervis Sarabia both stood next to the white coffin decorated with white balloons.

“These have been very hard days for me as a father and husband as I have to see my son dead and my wife injured at hospital. God only knows why He does things. Now I have the problem, I'm still alive,” a weeping Santoyo said.

He added that right now his thoughts are with his family.

Yermi Santoyo weeps as he leans on the hearse bearing his son Yaelvis's body. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE -

“I already lost my son trying to give them a better life. Now I just want to be in peace with my family, my wife and my daughter Danna,” he said. Santoyo said he wants to live in calm here in Trinidad or if need be, in another country.

“My fight now will be to give my wife and daughter stability. I must understand that losing my son was God's decision and I am attached to him still,” he said.

A large number of children from the local Venezuelan community attended the funeral and brought white balloons with various messages.

“Yaelvis now you are an angel,” “Free of violence,” “Not to be discriminated against,” and “Life, Education, Peace,” were some of the messages written on posters.

Andreina Briceno, director of non-governmental organisation La Casita, which seeks the interests of Venezuelans in TT, attended the funeral.

The service was officiated by Rev Rian Williams and Venezuelan pastor Antonio Salazar. The funeral was held both in English and Spanish.

Williams said, "This is truly a difficult situation and I feel it as a father. I want to say to my countrymen, in the eyes of God we are all brothers and sisters and we are to love each other and be each other's keeper."

FAREWELL YAELVIS: Venezuelan children holding balloons wave as the hearse carrying the body of Yaelvis Santoyo following his funeral in Arima on Friday. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE -

"All children are precious in the eyes of God, and it does not matter the colour of our skin or the nationality, where we are from," he added.

"I pray for the entire community because it’s not just the mother and father who were affected, it is the community, and I pray you will strengthen them, encourage them, protect them, and that you can find a way to comfort them."

Salazar said in Spanish: "I know that it is a very difficult moment for Yermi and Darielvis as parents, but they must understand God's will and at this moment Yaelvis is an angel who is close to our Father and who is surely much better off in heaven than here on earth." Salazar asked the Venezuelan community to support Yaelvis's family and to stay united.


"Shot Venezuelan boy Yaelvis Santoyo, 1, laid to rest"

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