Late last night, Venezuelan authorities annulled the passports of 130 Venezuelan children who were on a chartered flight to Peru, where they were going to meet their parents. The children were under the custody of a non-government organization called Union Venezolana en Peru [Venezuelan Union in Peru] (VUP), which had organized the flight in order to coincide with the holiday season with the hope of reuniting families.
According to Venezuelan authorities, the passports of four children contained undisclosed “irregularities”. Rather than prohibiting the four children from leaving the country, the authorities opted instead to cancel the flight and annul the passports of the 130 child passengers.
The worsening economic, social and political condition in Venezuela has caused an exodus of Venezuelans from the country that has been taking place over the past several years. While official government figures are scarce and unreliable, independent estimates place the number of Venezuelans living in Peru at 19,000.
Pictures and videos of distraught children crying inside the Simon Bolivar International Airport spread on social media platforms last night. Beatriz Adrian, a journalist who was at the scene last night, tweeted out the following message:
This is how 120 [sic] children sleep on the floor of the airport, [after] the Maduro government annulled their documents and stopped them from travelling to Peru to meet their parents. The coordinators of the [VUP] have been arrested.
Adrian said that after speaking to some of the afflicted families at the airport last night, some of them expressed that they have nowhere to stay in Venezuela since they were expecting to leave for Peru for good.
The mother whose children who was on the flight spoke from Peru earlier today, saying:
They’ve done a horrible thing to us. My children are alone. They don’t have their father. They wanted nothing more than to be with me here.
Also from Peru, a father explained the circumstances that saw him separated from his family in Venezuela:
I did everything legally. I authorized my wife to legally represent me, and she authorized my children to leave the country. I didn’t abandon anyone. I send them remittance.
EU Set to Sanction Regime Officials
Spain’s EFE reported today that the European Union (EU) is finalizing a list of Venezuelan officials to be sanctioned some time in January. The news broke via Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfonso Dastis, who told the newspaper that the EU believes that the Maduro regime must be “pressured” to act with good will towards the Venezuelan people and the opposition.
Dastis said that this new round of targeted sanctions would restrict travel to the EU by the named individuals, as well as freeze their assets in the bloc. Dastis also hinted that the list of sanctioned regime officials would be made public some time around Christmas time.
Once they come into effect, these sanctions would be the second set imposed by the EU against the Maduro regime. Last month, the EU voted to ban weapons exports to Venezuela citing the country’s human rights record and the Maduro regime’s penchant for brutally repressing dissent.
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