Nearly 100 Venezuelan refugees leave Chile for Maduro

‘Vuelta a la patria’

SANTIAGO – As many as 94 Venezuelans returned to their country to benefit from the return plan “Vuelta a la Patria” implemented by the government of Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan embassy in Santiago confirmed on Sunday.

A charter plane of the Venezuelan state airline Conviasa picked up at the Santiago airport the refugees who registered in this program that opened in October.

“We have a total of 94 people between adults and children. We have a group very hopeful of returning to the country, “Arévalo Méndez, Venezuela’s ambassador to Chile, told reporters.

He added that “the reasons why they return are because some came with socio-economic expectations that did not reach them, others who, despite obtaining a good socioeconomic status and a good salary, longed for their land, family, culture, customs, music, and they decided to return.”

Nearly 200 Venezuelans have already registered in Chile in the “Vuelta a la Patria” program, which has no cost or requirements, and has no registration period, so the Venezuelan authorities are not clear how many flights must be made.

It should be noted that this plan was not only implemented in Chile, but also in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, among other countries.

In less than two months, more than 7,000 Venezuelan migrants, from eight countries, have returned to their land to work for their families and the future of their homeland, “which welcomes them with love and respect”.

Once in Venezuela, the returnees will be transferred to their regions and will be able to benefit from a social plan for job search and reintegration.

The return of Venezuelan immigrants comes days after the “return plan” presented by the Chilean Government, which meant that 175 Haitians returned to their country, with the condition that they do not return to Chile in at least nine years.

Chile sends 175 Haitian migrants back home on ‘humanitarian flight’

Chile has become a favorable destination for migrants thanks to its economic and social stability. In the last four years, the number of migrants has risen from 400,000 to 1.1 million, in a country of 17.5 million inhabitants.

In 2017 some 177,000 Venezuelans arrived in Chile in an unprecedented exodus that was caused by the crisis in Venezuela, with hyperinflation, lack of medicines and food.

Before this massive migration, Venezuelans could enter Chile without a visa. But since last April, the government of Sebastián Piñera has imposed the “democratic responsibility visa” that allows Venezuelans to stay in Chile for a year, to be able to work and ask for their permanent residence.

This visa can only be obtained at the consulates of Chile in Venezuela. During the first semester of this year, close to 65,000 Venezuelans had requested the visa.

Last August, 97 Venezuelans of half a million who have arrived in Peru also fleeing the crisis, returned to their country thanks to Maduro’s plan. The Peruvian government criticized this program as a propaganda operation.

At least 2.3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants left the country since 2015, most of whom went to other countries in Latin America, according to the United Nations.

Latin American countries will receive Venezuelan migrants even with expired documents