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Friday, 26 February, 2021

Ten months later, 17 Venezuelan migrants still missing on the Falcon coast

Relatives say they have done everything in their power to find the whereabouts of the 17 missing migrants (rafters, Venezuelans trying to migrate by sea) but have not received the help they expected from the Nicolas Maduro regime. They believe that they are kidnapped and used as slaves on some island or taken over by drug traffickers.

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People have not recovered from the death of 34 would-be migrants who tried to reach Trinidad and Tobago by sea from Guiria when it is reminded that 17 other Venezuelans who tried to migrate by sea from Falcon state are still missing.

Ten months before, 17 migrants set sail from the coast of Tiraya, in the Paraguana peninsula, to flee the Venezuelan crisis and reach Aruba. The families denounce that they have not received support from the Nicolas Maduro regime in the research to know what happened with them.

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Last January 17 marked ten months since disappeared. On the missing boat were three minors with their relatives to settle in the Caribbean Dutch islands; however, everything indicates that they left but never arrived at their destination.

Carmen Sanchez, the mother of one of the missing persons, expressed that they have gone to every law agency looking for support for their cause. They also have joined with the relatives of the disappeared from La Vela, San Jose de la Costa, and Guiria in Sucre state to create a Venezuelan alliance to make it possible for them to channel foreign aid.

Sanchez believes her son and the other missing migrants were kidnapped by human-trafficking gangs working in cahoots with the Maduro regime.

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“In this case of Tiraya, they are kidnapped. This is yet another case of human trafficking. God willing, we will go as far as we have to go. Government officials are behind all this. We do not doubt that,” said Sanchez.

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Eight people have been arrested for this case. Among the detainees, there is a former police officer accused of fishing for would-be migrants.

So far, they are all in prison. But the families have not had access to the files or the hearings, so they do not know they have alleged.

The case is still open for the police. At the beginning of the year, Andy Reyes was arrested by the Carirubana Police. Reyes had an arrest warrant for the crime of human trafficking and the association to commit a crime before the Second Control Court of the same jurisdiction.

Reyes gets accused of having participated in the disappearance of these 17 people. He was detained and placed in custody at a presentation hearing.

“We, the relatives, demand that all our boys be searched for in the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) islands, Trinidad and Tobago, in the state of Bolivar and the Delta Amacuro. They are human beings too, useful to our country. They were looking for quality of life for themselves and us. Enough waiting for the Government, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and police”, said Sanchez.

The relatives believe that their people have been kidnapped and are being used as slaves on some island or even in Venezuela, taken over by drug traffickers. For this reason, they have decided not to stop the fight they started the day they found out that their relatives were missing.

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