Venezuelans stranded in Spain again demanded to the government of Nicolas Maduro allows them a speedy return, after almost six months trapped in Spanish territory by the suspension of commercial flights and the closure of air borders to stop the COVID-19.
Maduro has shut down Venezuelan borders, a move denounced by the United Nations, with the stated purpose of keeping COVID-19 cases out. Not even Venezuelans are allowed reentry, which is considered a human rights violation.
Some 5.5 million Venezuelans emigrated starting in 2014 when a combination of economic and political crises forced them out. However, since mid-March, about 100,000 have returned from neighboring countries such as Colombia, this time around forced by a Coronavirus-induced economic downturn in most host countries.
From iconic Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, a group of Venezuelans said Wednesday, August 26, that they are in an unsustainable situation emotionally and economically, so they urged to return to their homes and jobs through humanitarian and repatriation flights.
They recalled that the first repatriation flight from Spain, authorized by Venezuela, left on July 21, with 340 people on board, leaving behind almost 700 Venezuelans eager to return to their country since the outbreak of the pandemic. There are thousands more massed in the Colombian side of the border and other points awaiting reentry.
Venezuelans in Spain have complained of excessive demands by the local Maduro representative there, to be allowed return.
Most of the Madrid Venezuelans have air tickets bought all from different airlines before the pandemic. But they warned that, to date, many of them are not even able to pay for a PCR test to rule out the coronavirus, one of the requirements demanded by the Maduro regime from passengers on the August 21st flight, which costs 90 euros.
Not to mention the possibility of buying a plane ticket, which cost 550 euros to most of those who boarded the Plus Ultra plane at that time, since only 100 people were exonerating from payment.
The Venezuelans also appealed to the solidarity of their compatriots on Spanish soil, as well as to institutions that can help them overcome what they consider a street situation. “There are many Venezuelans with health problems,” said Gabriela Sieveret, representing the group.
At the same time, another group in Valencia city, also demand that the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry authorize their return to the country as soon as possible.
“Almost six months stranded and without concrete information (…) We trust the word of Ambassador (Mario) Isea. We need answers,” they said.