Nearly 180 Haitian citizens are being sent back to their home country from Chile via President Sebastian Piñera’s Humanitarian Return Plan that has already airlifted 339 citizens to the poverty-stricken nation.
On Monday morning Chile’s second Humanitarian Return Plan flight took off from Santiago transporting 179 Haitians to their country's capital of Port-au-Prince.
Chile’s Undersecretary of the Interior, Rodrigo Ubilla told reports of the plan that was announced in October: "This is a clear manifestation of the interest of citizens to return to their country, given that in Chile their expectations were not fulfilled."
The undersecretary added, "We believe that this program was needed, so (we’re) very satisfied."
Many of the over 110,000 Haitians living in Chile cried foul when the so-called voluntary return plan was unveiled last month saying that the program is a covert way for right-wing Piñera to deport them from the country without cause.
Ubilla said that more than 1,600 Haitians have registered for the free flight home and that other airlifts are being planned.
The policy is aimed at Haitians who have struggled to find work in one of Latin America’s richest economies. Chile’s government estimates that there are about 112,000 Haitians in the South American country, about 10 percent of its total immigrant population.
Haiti registers some of the highest poverty and corruption rates in the Caribbean and Latin America. Within the past two weeks alone at least 11 from the country have been killed during protests against the government’s embezzlement of Petrocaribe funds. Scores were wounded by state forces and 75 were arrested during Nov. 18 demonstrations alone.