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Monday, 18 January, 2021

Relatives of migrants missing at sea take protest to Caracas

The Committee of Relatives of Victims of Forced Disappearances on the Venezuelan Coast (Confavidt in Spanish) demands speed, justice, and answers about the rafters who have disappeared on the Falcon coast since 2019.

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By Lisbeth Barboza Ruiz.
Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.

Guiria is still lamenting and burying its dead. Falcon wants answers and keeping up the fight. And both the Guiria and the Falcon people will now take their grievances to Caracas.

In the town of Güiria, 34 lives were lost in December, in the worst such disaster to date. More than 5.5 million Venezuelans migrated since 2013 when Maduro first took over, and the movement is bound to accelerate this year, according to the UN, to at least 8.1 million Venezuelan migrants abroad by the end of 2021.

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Meanwhile, families of the missing migrants in the Falcón coast announced that they protest again in Caracas, together with the families of those migrants who died in Guiria, asking for answers. The reason: the passivity of Maduro regime law enforcement to solve the cases.

Monday, January 11, at a press conference, Jhonny Romero, representative of Confavidt, said that there are also plans to visit the embassies from the Netherlands and Trinidad and Tobago, in a decision agreed upon with the families of the balseros drowned in Guiria. Balseros out of Falcon typically try to reach destinations in the nearby Dutch Caribbean, while Guiria and Sucre state, in general, are now a jump-off point for Trinidad-bound migrants.

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They demand only one thing: speed in the investigations and concrete actions in the six cases that Confavidt has recorded. Romero said they feel helpless, facing injustice and negligence of the authorities of the Maduro regime-

Maduro regime Attorney General Tarek William Saab is refusing to speak directly with the grieving families, Romero complained. Romero is the father of one of the missing persons who tried to reach the island of Curaçao in June 2019 in a boat.

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The spokesperson mentioned that they go to different offices, including the Presidency of the Republic, the National Assembly, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV), and human rights organizations, to request support and information on the whereabouts of their relatives and to seek justice.

Romero said that in February of last year, a group of relatives went to Caracas requesting help and answers. In this second visit to the Venezuelan capital, they will demand action given the silence that reigns around the six cases, after more than a year has passed.

The Committee of Relatives of Victims of Forced Disappearances in Venezuela (Cofavidef), Falcon chapter, demanded that Maduro answers for the denunciations of human trafficking in the coastal states of the country, especially in La Vela de Coro, where they allegedly operate freely.

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