Over 1,000 Venezuelans returned home in December

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Passengers raise their hands in excitement aboard the Triniflyer boat in Chaguaramas before leaving for Venezuela on September 29, 2022. – File photo/Ayanna Kinsale

More than 1,000 Venezuelan migrants who were living and working in TT returned to their country in December.

Several shipping companies transported the Venezuelans from the ports in Cedros and Chaguaramas.

A significant portion travelled with provisional travel documents issued by the Venezuelan embassy in Port of Spain and some with their passports.

Venezuelan Ambassador Alvaro Sánchez Cordero told Newsday between the first and last week of December the embassy issued approximately 1,000 provisional travel permits.

“It is an identification document that replaces the passport, but that is only good for a direct legal trip from TT to Venezuela,” he said.

“We understand the Christmas is an important date for Venezuelans and that is why the greatest demand for requests for provisional travel permits is in December. Applicants must have the travel ticket with the established date and present it at the offices 15 days in advance,” said Sánchez Cordero.

However, these figures are not complete. Hundreds of other Venezuelans with valid passports also left in December.

Orangel Lacourt, owner of the Ángel del Orinoco shipping company, said between December 1-29 they made several trips from Cedros to Tucupita, Venezuela, where they ferried 412 Venezuelans with legal travel documents.

Nairin Mathura, in charge of operations of the Lacourt Performance Trinidad Company, said they transported 153 Venezuelans – 137 adults and 17 children, in seven trips from Cedros to Tucupita.

Cherry González, Triniflyer’s business manager, said they transferred 148 Venezuelans – 124 adults and 21 children), with two departures from a private pier in Chaguaramas and arrived at the port of Guiria.

Some Venezuelans returned home by plane and another shipping company. Members of the Venezuelan community said many others opted to leave illegally on pirogues to avoid paying fees for travel documents.

Many Venezuelans who left TT said are unlikely to return because of the rising cost of living, the inability to get their children in schools and the uncertainty of their legal status.

The only shipping company which has received authorisation for round-trip permits with passengers is Triniflyer.

González said in the two trips made in December they brought 49 people from Venezuela who obtained the visas to travel.

Orangel Lacourt said they are waiting on TT authorities to approve a ferry service from Tucupita.

“For now we are only moving people from TT to Venezuela, but not from Venezuela to TT. That could help encourage tourism between the two countries and allow many Venezuelans to visit their families and return to their jobs,” he said.

“My wife and my two children left after Christmas Eve. My children need to study and here the government does not allow them. We were forced to separate our family,” said Martin Pérez. He said his family will not return to TT.

“My wife had a passport, but my two children travelled with provisional documents. We don’t expect them to return to TT. Now I will work to help them from here,” he said.

Perez does not know when he will see his family again, while he waits for TT to make opportunities more flexible for Venezuelans to live and work in TT.