(CNN in Spanish) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed that his government had reached an agreement with the United States to receive Venezuelans deported from that country, he said Monday on his weekly program.
Maduro confirmed that of the two million Venezuelans who emigrated for economic reasons, nearly a million returned to their country under the Vuelta a la Patria program, especially from countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Peru and part of Colombia.
The government of Venezuela created the Vuelta a la Patria program in August 2019, which creates an air and land bridge for citizens who want to return to the country and lack their own means to do so.
As of August, the Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants counted more than 7.7 million Venezuelans who had been forced to leave their lands due to the systemic crisis in the South American country.
Maduro confirmed, during his intervention in the program, that he informed the American authorities of the existence of a network of wolves operating between Chile and the United States to mobilize immigrants irregularly.
On October 5, Joe Biden’s government announced that it would resume deportations of Venezuelans directly to their country, in an attempt to stem the record flow of crossings at the US-Mexico border. This step represents a major change in Biden’s policy.
Venezuelans who cross the southern border illegally and lack a legal basis to remain in the United States will be eligible for deportation, according to senior government officials. “Today’s announcement is a key part of our ongoing efforts to escalate the consequences at the border for migrants who cross the border illegally,” one official said.
Specifically, the Venezuelan government said, in a subsequent statement, that it had signed an agreement with the United States to allow “the lawful return of Venezuelan citizens from the United States.” He added that migration out of the country in recent years “is a direct result of the application of unilateral coercive measures and the blockade imposed on our economy, which was violated illegally and in violation of international law.”
It remains to be seen how the agreement will be implemented between the two countries, which have not had formal diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level for nearly 15 years. In September 2008, Hugo Chávez’s government expelled Washington’s representative to his government, Patrick Doody, and then vetoed the appointment of the diplomat chosen to replace him, Larry Palmer.
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