After years of manipulating the Venezuelan migration crisis phenomenon to attack the Bolivarian Revolution and thus reap the financial rewards, the scourge of the new coronavirus pandemic was enough to topple the deception.
Yadira Cruz Valera
The COVID-19 pandemic had barely reached Latin America when thousands of Venezuelans began to enter the country, crossing the borders from Colombia and Brazil.
According to official reports, the number returning has now exceeded 60,000.
These arrivals share heartbreaking testimonies, not only of the journeys they endured to reach the border, covering thousands of kilometres without money or resources, but also of how they were treated, thrown out of their homes and jobs.
One of the most well-known cases is of two pregnant young women who, almost at full-term, were removed from their homes by their landlords; the Colombian police kept them out and they had no option but to cross tracks and fields until they reached the border.
One of the women gave birth at barely seven months, the other told the press that she did not even know how far along in her pregnancy she was, having never received any care.
For almost three months, thousands of Venezuelans have been returning home. All must undergo compulsory rapid testing for COVID-19. Depending on the result, they are given a PCR test and, if this is positive, are cared for in the dedicated Integral Diagnostic Centres that have been set up for this purpose.
After these control procedures, returning emigrants are taken to their homes and treated just the same as any other citizen, even though many had previously renounced their roots and their people. More than 80 per cent of positive coronavirus cases are among these returnees, mainly from Colombia.
Over the last few weeks, the Executive repeated the warning of various outbreaks throughout Venezuela, largely stemming from contact with infected individuals who illegally entered the country, breaking the health and security cordon established along the land borders with Colombia and Brazil.
Given this situation, Integral Temporary Special Strategic Defence Zones have been established, initially in areas of the western border states of Zulia and Táchira, to ensure better containment at all illegal crossings points and counter the irregular movement of people.
Even in the midst of such a complex epidemiological panorama, the Bolivarian government continues to receive those who decide to return, fleeing from xenophobia, unemployment and poor living conditions. The majority return with their hopes shattered, in search of family support at least.
However, little or nothing is said about this reverse migration by the big global media outlets, international bodies or governments who, just a matter of months ago, were manipulating the topic with the aim, among others, of justifying armed aggression against Venezuela.
Instead new ploys are invented, the most recent of which was denounced by Minister for Foreign Affairs Jorge
Arreaza, when he accused UNHCR of using Venezuelan migrants to satisfy the interests of the United States and the European Union.
The truth is that the Venezuelan “migration crisis” has been driven by lies, manipulation and deception, to yet again silence the truth and continue the smear campaign against the South American nation.
This has been done by those who want President Nicolas Maduro removed from power.
Exorbitant numbers of emigrants, testimonies of citizens who were fleeing the alleged dictatorship, media shows, statements from public officials who attested to chaos in the country, money to help the receiving countries, this and more, has dominated headlines in the mainstream media over the last few years – criticising, judging and discrediting the Bolivarian Revolution.
The departure of thousands of Venezuelans to other countries, principally in Latin America, became the breeding ground for the press and officials of some governments in the region to lash out at President Nicolas Maduro and his Executive. While it is true that thousands of people left the country in search of economic opportunities, this was largely influenced by the shortages caused by Washington’s hostile policy, which prevents other countries from importing to Venezuela, while conspiring with the right to freeze Venezuela’s assets and plunder its businesses abroad.
But these were not the reasons reported by the media; in the public mind, they were all “fleeing Maduro’s dictatorship”.
The topic was manipulated to such an extent that many migrants joined the chorus to obtain benefits in their host countries, issuing the most extraordinary statements about their country of origin.
The situation was not only exploited to discredit and attack the Bolivarian government but also to seek international aid, supposedly to respond to the crisis. UNHCR and IOM alone requested 1.35 billion dollars.
And by 14 August 2019, Colombia, the main destination country, had received 96 million dollars for aid programmes aimed at Venezuelan migrants. Yet, since the middle of that year, thousands of Venezuelans have returned home, and none testify to having received any support or economic assistance. (PL)
(Translated by Rebecca Ndhlovu – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay