Thursday 1 October, 2020

Venezuelan Civil Society protests immigration raids

The Civil Society of Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago are expected to gather outside of the UN building on Monday morning, following the “horrible treatment” suffered by Venezuelan nationals during a police exercise last Friday.

On Friday night, over 30 nationals were arrested at a business place along Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, during a police exercise by officers of the Port of Spain Division, with assistance from the Immigration Department.

In a statement prepared by the society, the group condemned the rough handling of their nationals, noting that many persons in the group were there legally. 

“The majority of those held were Venezuelans living in Trinidad legally. Some of those Venezuelans are already accepted by the United Nation High commissioner with refugee status and others who are waiting to become legal by immigration department – a process takes a while."

"Also there is long list by Living Water Community for those who are waiting to get an official document, a certificate by the Immigration department to allow then to be officially legal refugees."

“Yet despite this, Venezuelan nationals were assaulted, and detained, by the men and women given the powers to uphold the law. To the police officers involved, this has been described as police brutality. To the Immigration officers, their actions violated human rights, because everyone, despite their legal status, was treated as though they were hostages.  So we need the United Nations to advise the Immigration and Police Authority and National Security, about how to treat humans,” the statement read.

Given the conditions which face Venezuelans in their home country, the society was calling on Immigration officials to be more compassionate during the course of their duties.

“Please have compassion for our brothers and sisters. Please help Venezuelans already going through such a hardship. Soon (when President Nicolás Maduro steps down) all of Venezuela will go back to the Venezuela of how it was before, where you all (Trinidad and Tobago citizens) visited and loved. Trinidad and Tobago, we are brothers and sisters close to each other.  Please allow peace, compassion, companionship, love and togetherness to guide all our interactions,” the statement read.

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