Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—During the sixth and final day of the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup this year, the teams from Venezuela and Perú faced each other in Lima, with the score was tied at one goal each. This places Venezuela in the fourth qualifying position—above Brazil and Ecuador—and Perú in the last position. Such an achievement is unprecedented for Venezuela, which has never qualified for a World Cup due to the competitiveness of soccer in South America, as well as the fact that baseball is the most popular game played and followed by Venezuelans.
Perú, a country that has received a significant influx of Venezuelan migrants in recent years, prepared for the match in a most xenophobic way, with security announcing migration control at the entrance of the stadium, and with controversial xenophobic and misogynist comments against Venezuelan migrants and women, in the leadup to the match this Tuesday, November 21.
Jefferson Savarino culminó la jugada de Darwin Machis para poner el empate.
🇵🇪 Perú 1-1 VENEZUELA 🇻🇪 pic.twitter.com/SAgEgqQpW6
— REDRADIOVE (@RedRadioVe) November 22, 2023
At the end of the match, Venezuelan soccer team—affectionately nicknamed La Vinotinto—approached the Venezuelan fans’ area in the stadium, to thank them for their support and throw some t-shirts. The mistreatment and abuse of the Venezuelan fans reached its limits when Peruvian police, stationed inside the stadium, began shoving and hitting the team to keep them from interacting with fans, before charging on the Venezuelan fans, in a blatant display of the disproportionate use of force by the Peruvian police.
Forced delay in airport
In a continuation of the series of xenophobic events enacted by Peruvian authorities on the day of the match, Venezuela was surprised on Wednesday, the day after the match, when the Peruvian government forbade the departure of the flight carrying the Venezuelan soccer team. This was reported by the Venezuelan minister for foreign affairs, Yván Gil, through a post on social media.
El Gobierno de Perú aplica un secuestro, vengativo a nuestro equipo, que ha…
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) November 22, 2023
“The government of Perú is carrying out a vindictive kidnapping of our team, which played an extraordinary game yesterday,” Gil wrote on Wednesday. “We demand the immediate cessation of attacks against our team and the Venezuelan people, and for the government of Perú to abide by their obligations within the framework of respect for International Law, and to discard their xenophobic practices.”
The Venezuelan minister for youth and sports, Mervin Maldonado, further condemned the circumstances surrounding the Venezuela–Perú soccer match, and issued a statement demanding respect for the Venezuelan nation and its team. The unofficial translation can be read below:
“The Ministry of Popular Power for Youth and Sports of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, makes public its indignation and rejection of the attacks suffered by athletes of the Venezuelan soccer team by the National Police of Peru, at the end of the match for the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, held at the National Stadium in Lima on November 21 of this year.
It is at least embarrassing that a football event of such magnitude has been taken as a battlefield to expose the lowest passions of anti-Venezuelan xenophobia by the Peruvian police authority.
However, this behavior is not surprising given that the atmosphere prior to the game had been strained by the unprecedented announcement by the National Police of Peru to carry out immigration controls on the Venezuelan community within the framework of a sporting activity with foreseeable mass participation. Likewise, the issuance of denigrating comments loaded with violence against Venezuelan women by supposed commentators from Peru exacerbated tensions against the Venezuelan people. In addition to these facts, they have been kidnapped for several hours of delay, for refusing to supply fuel to the planes transporting the national team in its return to Venezuela.
The Ministry of Popular Power for Youth and Sports reserves the corresponding legal actions and demands that the authorities of Peru, the International Football Federation, the South American Football Confederation and the Peruvian Football Federation carry out a thorough investigation into these unacceptable events, which flagrantly violate Human Rights, the fight against discrimination and racism, as well as the determination of responsibilities that may arise in the case.”
Two hours after Minister Gil’s condemnation of the unlawful delay of the Venezuelan team at Lima airport, the Peruvian government released an unconvincing statement via its foreign ministry, in an attempt to deny its responsibility for the incident.
“The Foreign Ministry regrets the situation that the plane carrying La Vinotinto is going through, and reports that the government of Perú has not ordered any measure that prohibits the refueling of said aircraft,” the Peruvian foreign ministry posted, adding, “likewise, [the foreign ministry] points out that the aforementioned aircraft has been experiencing supply restrictions of a private commercial nature beyond the control of the Peruvian State.”
Luego de nuestras denuncias públicas y acciones diplomáticas, el Gobierno del Perú ha ordenado el suministro de combustible a la aeronave YV645T y ha prometido derogar la resolución de PetroPerú, que impide a empresas del sector prestar servicios en tierra a los aviones… pic.twitter.com/hyczfOTaS3
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) November 22, 2023
Over six hours after Minister Gil’s first social media post, he reported that La Vinotinto was finally heading back to Venezuela, following a resolution repealed by the Peruvian government that prevented grounding services for aircraft with Venezuelan flags.
“After our public complaints and diplomatic actions, the government of Perú has ordered the supply of fuel to the YV645T aircraft and has promised to repeal the PetroPerú resolution, which prevented companies from providing ground services to aircraft registered in Venezuela,” Gil wrote, almost seven hours after the team had initially attempted to depart. “At this time, our Vinotinto players and coaches are embarking on their safe return to Caracas.”
President Maduro shows his indignation
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, voiced his condemnation of the xenophobic and racist actions against the Venezuelan soccer team and Venezuelan fans that occurred in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers game.
“The racist oligarchy of Perú has attacked our noble national soccer team, La Vinotinto,” the head of state said during a meeting with cadets of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. “Venezuela raises its voice to protest xenophobia, violence, and aggression against the Venezuelan team and fans.”
“These are signs from the oligarchy there in Peru, that they are capable of attacking a simple game of soccer, where we gave them a lesson in quality soccer and we tied, and now they are in the background, he said, as reported by Ultimas Noticias, adding that they are “envious, petty, and evil for this, as well as for their attacks of the noble Venezuelan people who live and work there.”
He further commented that the xenophobia against Venezuela demonstrates “the envy” of the government of Perú, but that “nothing and no one will stop Venezuela,” and that “what we are going for is from victory to victory.”
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff
- orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/March 4, 2024