At least fourteen Venezuelan migrants, including three children, died in the sinking of a boat between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday. The first eleven bodies were recovered in the afternoon during a routine mission by a coast guard patroller, off the town of Güiria. Then Sunday, “we found three dead on the beach, two adult men and a woman,” said the Ministry of External Relations, in a statement.
An unknown number of passengers are still missing. “It is assumed that the boat had 30 passengers on board, which means that there could be many missing,” said Robert Alcala, parliamentarian from the coastal state of Sucre, where the boat is believed to have departed. . The government press release reports 20 passengers aboard the missing boat, which allegedly set sail on December 6.
The victims deported from Trinidad and Tobago?
The bodies were tied together when they were recovered. This was apparently an attempt by the victims to protect themselves from the swells before the sinking. They were found in an advanced state of decomposition.
According to Robert Alcala, the boat had left Venezuela on December 6 for Trinidad, where its occupants were detained and returned to their country aboard the same vessel for illegal immigration. “The authorities of Trinidad made the mistake of expelling people on board the boat with which they had arrived”, accused the deputy, denouncing in addition the corruption of the Venezuelan authorities and the existence of mafias responsible for trafficking in human beings. humans operating between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago.
More than five million Venezuelans have fled
More than a hundred Venezuelans disappeared between 2018 and 2019 while undertaking this dangerous crossing, according to Robert Alcala. Already on November 28, the authorities in Trinidad expelled 160 Venezuelans, accused of having entered the country “illegally” by this sea route.
The head of Venezuelan diplomacy, Minister Jorge Arreaza (Unified Socialist Party), expressed “his sincere condolences to the families of the victims”, while reaffirming “the need to deepen the fight against the mafias of human trafficking who promote illegality ”. According to the UN, more than five million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015, forced by the serious political and economic crisis that the country is going through. About 25,000 of them fled to Trinidad and Tobago, an island country of 1.3 million people.