The National Assembly agreed to denounce the policy segregation and stigmatization unleashed against returned Venezuelans – Who have been qualified as ‘bio-terrorists’ by Nicolás Maduro’s regime – before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other entities that make up international justice, and also to declare Nicolás Maduro and his regime as the cause of the massive exodus of Venezuelans and systematic violators of the rights and human dignity of citizens who seek to return to this country.
Consequently, the regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros with these actions ratifies its outlaw regime character and violator of human rights of Venezuelans contained in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, which is part of the “Principles of Ius Cogens”, specifically in Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 25.
Similarly, they ask the countries of the region receiving Venezuelan migrants and refugees to avoid the implementation of policies aimed at increasing migration restrictions, such as: “widespread dismissals, as well as eviction actions and xenophobic practices. Attitudes that have been magnified in these times marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which deepens the situation of vulnerability of fellow citizens.”
Representative Marco Quiñones, president of the Special Subcommittee for Attention to Exiles of the NA, presented the Draft Agreement in rejection to the criminalization of Venezuelans returning to the country by Nicolás Maduro’s regime of before the Legislative Chamber and pointed out that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Venezuelan migrants are trying to return to Venezuela through humanitarian flights and denounced that the dictatorship is preventing them
He also warned that the regime is unleashing a campaign of ‘harmful stigmatization’, in which they have been able to label the returned nationals as ‘biological weapons’, according to his criteria “to try to find a culprit for the increase in the numbers of infection by the virus in the country.
Returning to the country of origin is not a crime
The parliamentarian then requested the authorization of President Juan Guaidó to grant the right to speak to David Smolansky, Commissioner of the OAS General Secretariat for the crisis of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, asserting that any citizen has the right to return to his country of origin, but denounced that in Venezuela this right is being “violated and ignored” by Nicolás Maduro’s illegitimate regime.
He stated that these Venezuelan citizens are crammed into shelters in the border states of Apure, Bolivar and Tachira, where no protocol of social distancing is observed, and does not guarantee them three daily meals. He also denounced the extortion committed by National Guard officers, who illegally charge returnees in Colombian pesos or dollars to transfer them to other cities in the country.
This is a consequence “of a systematic and generalized policy on the part of Nicolás Maduro’s regime to stigmatize, criminalize and categorize Venezuelans who want to return to Venezuela as ‘bio-terrorists’, as documented by the office of the Commissioner of the OAS General Secretariat for the crisis of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.”
He held responsible Nicolás Maduro, Vladimir Padrino, Remigio Ceballos, Freddy Bernal and Lisando Cabello, the latter of whom proposed that these people “should spend their quarantine inside cells, providing them with treatment equivalent to that of persons deprived of their liberty (prisoners).” On the contrary, he made clear that “these people have the legitimate right to return to their country of origin, a right to which they are entitled as Venezuelan nationals, and that is why it does not represent a crime.”
He also recalled that Freddy Bernal, a political leader in Táchira appointed by the regime, established that houses would be marked to indicate those who allegedly violated the ‘controls’ set up to restrict the passage of the nationals.
“These assertions are such that they can evolve into speeding genocides or starting genocides. We cannot normalize the criminalization or stigmatization of Venezuelans who return to the country, because that is a right and even more so when they do so in times of pandemic”.
Smolansly said that there are more than 1000 Venezuelans stranded in the United States, 700 in Spain, 600 in Chile, 500 between Panama and Costa Rica and 50 in Mexico.
He stated that returned fellow citizens and those who have not been able to return to Venezuela are victims of “cruel and degrading treatment,” which notably affects their physical, emotional and psychological integrity.
He blamed Maduro’s dictatorship for closing Venezuelan airspace so that Venezuelans can’t return for humanitarian reasons in the midst of the pandemic, but denounced “the fact that it leaves the airspace open for illegal activities such as smuggling, mining and drug trafficking.”
Smolansky warned that the source of the virus could have come from Iran, because since the pandemic worsened in Venezuela, 17 flights have arrived from that country, which has at least 25 million people with coronavirus.
“Because of several Iranian flights and ships that have come to Venezuela today, the top leaders of the regime are infected with covid-19,” he warned.
Restrictions on returnees to be lifted
For his part, Congressman Ezequiel Perez urged the Venezuelan regime to remove the restrictions to return to the country and allow Venezuelan migrants to enter the country, complying with the WHO safety protocol and the application of the corresponding quarantine in conditions with respect for human dignity.
He explained that Venezuelans who return to the country by irregular roads do so in desperation. The regime opens the border three days a week to allow only 300 people to enter.
Given the lack of guarantees that Venezuelan nationals face to return to their country, he said “that some have been forced to enter through irregular border crossings, foot paths. A situation that represents an imminent risk to people’s integrity, since these are sectors in which different (illegal) armed groups exercise territorial control.”
Finally, the exiled deputy Rosmit Mantilla asked the National Assembly to strongly reject the actions of the dictator Nicolás Maduro, a fugitive from international justice, “who today dares to insult the dignity of our people,” referring to the classification of the returned nationals as “lethal weapons,” the term of which should apply to the regime that has caused the forced displacement of more than 5 million Venezuelans throughout Latin America, “suffering the hardships of exile.”
“The lethal weapons are inefficiency, corruption, persecution, drug trafficking, migration, violence, extortion,” said the parliamentarian, who also repudiated that Nicolas Maduro’s regime only allows flights for drug trafficking and not to return Venezuelans stranded at the airports of other nations.”