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Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Relatives await answers about the 34 people missing on the coast of Falcon

On June 7, 2019, 34 people in a boat, left Falcon's coast for Curaçao, but never arrived at the island. A year later, relatives, only have questions and uncertainty. So far, only the body of one of the migrants in that boat was found dead by the Curaçao authorities. Relatives of the victims believe they are in the hands of a drug or human trafficking network.

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On June 7, 2019, a boat with no name or registration, left the waters of Punta Aguide, in the state of Falcon, supposedly bound for nearby Curaçao, carrying 34 migrants planned an illegally enter to the island, fleeing of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Of the 34 migrants, ten were women, and three were minors. Only one body appeared, floating in international waters, and rescued by Curaçao authorities. His name was Elio Ramones.

With Venezuela suffering the largest exodus in the history of the Western Hemisphere since 2014, disappearances at sea are now a serious and growing problem.

The NGO FundaRedes reported that between 2019 and so far in 2020, more than 150 victims have disappeared off Venezuelan coasts, as the case of these 34 people from Falcon state, and of whom nothing is known to date.

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Human or drug trafficking

The victims’ relatives believe that the trip organized by a network dedicated to human trafficking, perhaps also dabbling in prostitution and modern-day slavery, due to investigations and inquiries that they have carried out, in some cases, with the support of the regional government.

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The Committee of Relatives’s Victims of Enforced Disappearance in Venezuela (Cofavidef in Spanish), asked to the Nicolas Maduro regime answers to reports of human trafficking in the country’s coastal states, especially in La Vela de Coro, where they allegedly operate freely.

Jhonny Romero, the father of one of the missing, said that four prosecutors handled the case so far, and it is still uncertain how many people were really on the missing boat. Relatives speak about 34 because of a list that they made themselves.

Two men, who were allegedly part of the network that organized the trip, and operated the boat, are already in custody linked with the case.

Romero said that a year after the mysterious disappearance, none authorities in Falcon state have offered any information about raids carried out by the National Guard and the National Police, in which they have, supposedly, detained several citizens, for being allegedly involved in human trafficking between Falcon, Aruba, and Curacao.

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