Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—The Venezuelan minister for foreign affairs, Yván Gil, reported that a migration agreement between Venezuelan authorities and the US government has been signed, in order to ensure the “orderly, safe, and legal repatriation of Venezuelan citizens from the United States.”
“The Government of President Nicolás Maduro announces that, within the framework of the conversations held with the authorities of the United States of America, it has signed an agreement on migration,” wrote Gil via social media this Thursday, October 5, “that allows the orderly, safe, and legal repatriation of Venezuelan citizens from the United States through the Vuelta a la Patria (Return to the Homeland) program.” He attached an official communique from the Venezuelan government to his post.
#Comunicado El Gobierno del presidente @NicolasMaduro anuncia que, en el marco de las conversaciones sostenidas con las autoridades de los Estados Unidos de América, ha suscrito un acuerdo sobre migración que permita la repatriación ordenada, segura, y legal de ciudadanos… pic.twitter.com/1uwSzy3zSz
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) October 5, 2023
The announcement has been a significant surprise to many, due the fact that since 2019, Washington has consistently refused to recognize the democratically elected government of President Nicolás Maduro, and—in contravention of international legal order—launched a failed regime change operation, led by former deputy Juan Guaidó, in an attempt to oust President Maduro.
It is still not clear if the agreement will utilize Venezuela’s state own airline Conviasa, which is the airline in charge of the Vuelta a la Patria programe. Conviasa has been heavily sanctioned by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), as a part of the unprecedented and illegal sanctions policy launched by Washington against millions of Venezuelans with the consistent goal of ousting President Maduro and socialist government from power, having issued over 900 sanctions to date.
Since its initiation, 342,880 migrants have returned to Venezuela for free using the Vuelta a la Patria program. This social program has allowed for the return of many vulnerable migrants, mostly from other South American countries who did not have the money to pay for an air or land travel ticket.
It is also not clear yet if the program will now be forced to change its scope to help the US government repatriate Venezuelan asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected by US authorities.
Since 2015, the US government initiated a destabilization operation against the government of Nicolás Maduro with illegal sanctions, which were unprecedentedly heightened in 2019. In coordination with this operation, using the now-defunct Lima Group, the US and the other right-wing governments that formed this group “invited” Venezuelans to emigrate to their countries to “escape” the “communist regime.”
Several years later, Venezuelan migrants living in those South American countries began to feel the xenophobia and exploitation of their labor, in addition to the economic crises that often affect Latin American countries. This reality has pushed many Venezuelans back to their homeland, although others have opted to move northwards in attempts to take advantage of the US migration policy of granting asylum almost immediately to Venezuelan migrants, in a policy that resembles the notorious “wet feet, dry feet” policy used on Cubans.
Below, you can read the unofficial translation of the Venezuelan government’s statement on the agreement:
Venezuela signs agreement for the orderly and safe repatriation of fellow Venezuelans from the US
The Bolivarian government of Venezuela announces that, within the framework of the conversations held between the authorities of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the authorities of the United States of America, it has signed an agreement on migration that allows the orderly, safe and legal repatriation of Venezuelan citizens from the United States.
The Venezuelan migration of recent years is a direct consequence of the use of unilateral coercive measures and the blockade of our economy that has been infringed on us illegally, illegitimately and at odds with international law and the postulates of harmonious relations between nations. enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
Venezuela will deploy, through its “Return to the Homeland” program, the necessary resources for the comprehensive care of our repatriated compatriots, for the strict observation of the protection that the Constitution and the laws of the country consecrate to them.
Caracas, October 5, 2023
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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