55 Chileans return home from Venezuela on humanitarian flight

SANTIAGO – Over 60 people arrived in Santiago de Chile from Venezuela on Tuesday, in a special plane of the Chilean Air Force (FACH), after voluntarily leaving the South American country hit by a massive political and economic crisis.

The Government of Chile moved 55 Chileans, within the framework of a trans-Andean plan that seeks to return immigrants to their countries of origin and repatriate those who want to return.

“This morning in Group 10 of the Chilean Air Force, the Substitute Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolina Valdivia received a group of Chileans living in Venezuela who returned to the country,” the Chilean Foreign Ministry reported on its Twitter handle.

In the flight that landed at a military base in the Chilean capital, 47 people were born in the South American country, along with eight relatives born in Venezuela, in addition to eight Argentines who will then continue their trip to their country of origin.

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

The aircraft made a stop in Caracas to pick up the returnees, after having moved 175 Haitians back to their country on Monday as part of a humanitarian return plan implemented by the President Sebastián Piñera administration.

This was the second flight of the Chilean Air Force to repatriate nationals from Venezuela, after about 100 Chileans were transferred from Caracas on November 27.

The Argentine citizens who landed in Chile were provided with a bus in Santiago to be transferred to the city of Mendoza, according to what was agreed by the Chancelleries of Santiago and Buenos Aires.

Annual inflation is running at about 149,000 percent Venezuela amid widespread food and medicine shortages. During Chile’s right-wing military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s and 1980s, Venezuela gave sanctuary to thousands of exiled Chileans.

“The situation in Venezuela is, without a doubt, special. The serious humanitarian crisis has triggered the number of requests from Chileans who want to return,” Ampuero noted last month.

According to the UN Migration Agency, the flow of migrants from Venezuela increased more than tenfold over the past years — from 89,000 in 2015 to 900,000 in 2017.

Nearly 100 Venezuelan refugees leave Chile for Maduro