Colombian president Ivan Duque weighed in on recent stories on the possibility of a military intervention in Venezuela, saying that such a measure would be counterproductive. 

Duque said that any military action against Venezuela would play directly into Maduro’s hands, given his constant claims that his regime is under constant attack from a host of foreign and domestic enemies. Duque said:

If a military intervention is carried out, it would end up legitimizing the dictator because he’s always looking to create the image of a foreign invader in order to stay in power. 

Duque made the comments during an interview in which he called the Venezuelan migrant crisis “the hardest in recent Latin American history”

Trinidad and Tobago Sides with Guyana in Border Dispute

Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, announced yesterday that his government formally backs Guyana in its longstanding border dispute with Venezuela.

Venezuela claims the Esequiba region, which is administered by Guyana, as part of its national territory. The dispute dates back to at least 1822, when the government of Simon Bolivar raised its concerns over ownership of the region with the British government. 

While the dispute has laid dormant for long stretches of time since the 19th century, it has occasionally bubbled onto the national spotlight in both nations. 

Prime Minister Rowley was asked if his government’s support for Guyana in the dispute meant that he would seek to amend a 1990 territorial agreement with Venezuela that is based on Caracas’ claim over the Esequiba. He said:

I’m not sure that I’m in a position where I can talk about any amendments. I’m simply saying that Trinidad and Tobago is completely behind Guyana’s position in terms of its differences with Venezuela…

Detained Migrants Plead with Maduro for Repatriation

Opposition National Assembly deputy Carlos Valero shared a video on his Twitter account today showing a group of detained migrants in Trinidad and Tobago asking Maduro to help them return to Venezuela.

In the video, a group of approximately 20 men wearing blue scrubs in what could be a prison. One of the mean speaks to the camera, and asks Maduro to arrange for an airplane to take them back to Venezuela under the mandate of the Plan Vuelta a la Patria [Back to the Homeland Plan], a regime initiative that seeks to repatriate the more than 2.3 million Venezuelans who have left the country since 2013.

The man says that there are about 200 Venezuelan migrants detained on the island.

Below, the video along with my translation: 

Man: Mr. President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to all the ministers and [the president’s] executive team: we are asking for your help. Today, September 19 2018, [we ask that you] start working on solving, soon, the problem that we detained Venezuelans have in Trinidad and Tobago. There are approximately 200 of us, including men and women, who are in a migrant detention centre, and others are in other prisons in this country. 

Of those of us who are in [sounds like “EDSIP”; this might be an acronym for the detention centre], there are several groups. One, those who were sentenced to prison for 13 years for a crime that they did not commit, and who proved their innocence but are still denied the right to return to their country. Two, those who have been sentenced to prison for having committed the crime of entering Trinidad and Tobago illegally, who want to serve their sentence in Venezuela so that they can be with their families. Three, those who have been acquitted [sic] by a court for entering the country illegally, but who are being held my migration authorities–some of whom for over five months–awaiting deportation. Four, those who have been in EDSIP for more than six months having been sentenced by a court, but who still have not been sent to prison to serve their sentence. Finally, there are those who have an UNHCR certificate but are being held in detention, while others are forced to pay a fine so they can be freed.

So we are asking you, Mr. President, send the airplane so that we can be repatriated as part of Mision Vuelta a la Patria [sic], since we are fathers and mothers, heads of families, who are in this difficult situation. Our only crime was to migrate to this country in search for help. At the same time, we want to call on our ambassador in Trinidad and Tobago, Coromoto Godoy, to remember the Strasbourg Agreement. 

The Return to the Homeland Plan has been criticized by regime opponents as a propaganda tool aimed at casting doubt on the severity of the migrant crisis.

Three days ago, the government of Peru announced that out of the 437,000 Venezuelans who have arrived in the country over the past year, 190 have gone back through the Return to the Homeland Plan. 

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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