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  • President Nicolas Maduro participates in a government event in La Guaira, Venezuela, Nov. 19, 2020.

    President Nicolas Maduro participates in a government event in La Guaira, Venezuela, Nov. 19, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 20 November 2020
Opinion

Venezuelan authorities launched the Return to the Homeland Plan aimed at supporting the voluntary return of migrants and their families to the country amid the pandemic.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Thursday blamed the opposition and the Colombian government for the theft of millions of dollars in funds destined to pay for the return of Venezuelans who were stranded in other nations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The International Organization of Migration (IOM ) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) approved resources to support migrants, but "opposition leader Juan Guaido, and President Ivan Duque have stolen them in Colombia," President Maduro said.

The "Group of the 4 Hairy Rats" (G4RP), which includes Guaido, Henry Ramos, Julio Borges, and fugitive Leopoldo Lopez, "robbed all the money destined to support the Venezuelan migrants stranded in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile," the President said.

Venezuela has destined financial resources to pay for the care, passage, and support of thousands of Venezuelans who have returned through the National Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Air Services (Conviasa) on humanitarian flights. 

Conviasa will open new international destinations in addition to the existing ones to Iran, Turkey, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, and direct flights Caracas-Moscow.

Since August this year, Venezuelan authorities launched the Return to the Homeland Plan aimed to support the voluntary return of migrants and their families to the country. 

According to the Deputy Minister of Air Transport Ramon Celestino Velasquez, only in March, 195 international flight operations were carried out to repatriate 18,305 Venezuelans stranded in other countries.

According to official records by Venezuelan consulates, over 77 thousand nationals returned from 24 countries, most of them were in vulnerable situations and came back from countries of the Lima Group. A total of 1,240 flights at a cost of 2,850,000 euros were assumed by the Venezuelan State.

"We have spent millions of euros, but nothing nor anyone is going to stop us from bringing our citizens back," President Maduro said.

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