Maduro restricts return of Venezuelan migrants


CARACAS – The Nicolás Maduro government blames migrants for the increase in the spread of the coronavirus in Venezuela while hundreds of these emigrants, pushed by their limited survival options, remain stranded in makeshift camps in different cities of Colombia waiting to be able to cross into their country.

However, the Maduro government has imposed new restrictions on the return of its citizens, whose precarious stability in countries like Colombia was broken with the Covid-19 crisis. The opening of the main border bridges of the Colombian cities of Cúcuta and Arauca are limited from Monday to three days a week.

“All the effort we have made so that a person on a whim and irresponsible ends up contaminating her family. I ask for help from all the governors and the people. If you have a neighbor, call the police, the Armed Forces, or the nearest sentinel hospital so we can go find that person,” said Maduro.

“I tell all of Venezuela that we do not accept people who have gone through the trails [informal steps] and have circumvented the sanitary controls to get to their home,” he added.

In the official narrative with which the new confirmed cases are communicated, they are referred to as “biological weapons”, stressing that most of them are “imported” from Colombia and Brazil. The president has even assured that the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, sends “contaminated people” to Venezuela.

During the health crisis, of a diaspora of more than five million people – of which about 1.8 million were in Colombia for February – more than 71,000 Venezuelans have voluntarily returned to their country in about a thousand coordinated buses with mayors and governors.

In line with Maduro, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez affirmed this Monday that for Venezuela, “today their threat is the return of our migrants who, fleeing from xenophobia, come with the same contagion curves that exist in these countries,” she said, according to 800 Noticias, during the deployment of security forces before the start of a “radical” quarantine of seven days.

Colombia, which has more than 1,200 deaths associated with Covid-19 and borders on the 40,000 cases detected, calculates that these restrictions will reduce the return of Venezuelans by 80%. Venezuela, with a low diagnostic capacity, officially reports 2,377 cases and 22 deaths.

For his part, the Venezuelan congressman Carlos Valero, member of the Foreign Policy Commission of the National Assembly, rejected the new measure of the regime to restrict the entry of Venezuelans, indicating that it is unconstitutional and that it violates the freedom of movement established in the Declaration. Universal of human rights and the right to reside in their native country.MercoPress