Trinidad and Tobago Catholics aid Venezuelan migrants amid government crackdown

Source: Religion News Service

BY Melissa Williams-Sambrano

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago (RNS) — Yesenia Gonzalez immigrated to Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island Caribbean nation, from Venezuela 40 years ago when she was 18. She has raised her children and set up a successful business here.

But in recent months, Gonzalez has been spending less time with her loved ones and more time fighting for the safety of thousands of fellow Venezuelans fleeing to Trinidad and Tobago due to the economic and political tumult in their home country.

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This April, 82 Venezuelans were sent back to their country by Trinidad and Tobago officials. There have been other deportations in years past, but this one was significant because the Venezuelans were migrants seeking asylum or hoping to file for refugee status. Trinidad and Tobago’s government claimed they were held for various criminal offenses and said that the Venezuelans wanted to return home anyway.

Since then, Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago are afraid the same would happen to them. Efforts to speak with Venezuelans were mostly unsuccessful. Many are lying low as news of a “massive roundup” by officials spreads.

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