Around a hundred Venezuelans, including children, the elderly and pregnant women, have spent several nights in the open next to the headquarters of their country’s Consulate in Quito, awaiting a repatriation that has not yet arrived.
The voice of alarm was given by local organizations such as the Venezuelan Civil Association in Ecuador, whose president, Daniel Regalado, has asked the municipal authorities for measures to accommodate migrants who wish to return to their country of origin, driven by the lack of opportunities generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They are left by the hand of God. There are more than 40 families who have been walking from Peru, (or from the Ecuadorian cities) from Guayaquil or Manta, who were evicted and groups from Quito have joined them,” Efe Regalado said. , whose association has provided essential aid to the stranded.
The facade of a multi-storey office building that houses the Venezuelan Consulate, in the north of Quito, was today a makeshift camp for citizens of the Caribbean country, who crowded next to the main access, praying while eating a brief lunch donated by volunteers and individuals, pray together praying.
FOR TROCHAS AND PAYING 15 DOLLARS
With her face burned by the sun and partially covered with a fine burgundy mask, Neida Castillo, 37 years old and originally from Mérida, in the north-west of Venezuela, told Efe about the incidents that she has had to face since she left Lima 16 days ago .
Together with her husband and two cousins, the group arrived in Ecuador a week ago and since Monday they have made the Venezuelan consular facade in Quito their home waiting for a new repatriation flight to depart from the “Return to the Fatherland” plan. “, sponsored by the Executive of Nicolás Maduro.
“The departure from Peru was by a trail because they did not let us out, some Peruvian gentlemen helped us. You have to cross the desert on foot, sometimes they give you a queue (hitchhiking),” Castillo said, along with a minor who was playing surrounded by gear. in the middle of the street.
In his case, the group did not have to pay to cross illegally, but he says that the coyotes are charging Venezuelans $ 15 to take them from Peruvian to Ecuadorian territory.
Despite the fact that the Consulate in Quito last week enabled a platform for those interested in returning to Venezuela to register to apply for a place on repatriation flights, the stranded complain that “it never opens.”
The consular authorities have given them a form, but they have observed that people have been listed since October and ask that the repatriation of the most vulnerable be prioritized.
Diego Jiménez, 30, from the state of Apure, has been in the Ecuadorian capital for four days, where he arrived from Lima after more than two weeks of cycling with a cousin.
“It can be said that 100 percent of the people who are here have been fired from their jobs at first and then evicted after not being able to pay their rent,” he said.
Last Thursday, a flight with 90 migrants who returned to their country departed from Quito to Barquisimeto, in the northwest of Venezuela, followed by a similar one over the weekend with 88 Venezuelans who had lost their way at the Ecuador border. with Colombia, as reported by the Venezuelan Consulate.
Those flights have had a knock-on effect, but the Venezuelans who are waiting with the diplomatic legation of Quito do not know when others will leave and affirm that the consul, Pedro Sassone, does not give them any response in this regard.
“We have asked the NGO and also the consul himself to agree to give us refuge, but we have information that is completely overwhelmed by the pandemic,” he regrets.
Efe has tried unsuccessfully to contact the consul on Wednesday for a reaction on the situation.
Although most are aware that many have left their lives crossing borders armored by the pandemic, the situation of uncertainty has led a group of some twenty Venezuelans to leave for the border with Colombia today, “seeking the irregular passage,” he concludes. Jiménez.