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  • A photo showing Venezuelans lined up in Quito, Ecuador waiting to return home via the Return to the Homeland plan.

    A photo showing Venezuelans lined up in Quito, Ecuador waiting to return home via the Return to the Homeland plan. | Photo: Twitter: @denisseteleSUR

Published 23 January 2019

Around 500 Venezuelans will leave Ecuador this week after a series of xenophobic events.

Hundreds of Venezuelans are flying home from Ecuador Wednesday, taking advantage of the Bolivarian government's Plan Vuelta a la Patria (Return To Homeland Plan) after xenophobic attacks started in Ecuador. Ecuadorian press is falsely claiming the Ecuadorian government is offering flights to Venezuela. 

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The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza stated through his Twitter account that "after the xenophobic campaign that the government of that country undertook against Venezuelan migrants," the Venezuelan government will facilitate three flights (two from Quito and one from Guayaquil) to ensure the safe return of 230 Venezuelans Wednesday.

On Saturday, two other flights will leave from Quito to rescue 270 Venezuelans from the xenophobic climate that has overtaken Ecuador after the violent femicide of Diana Carolina Rodriguez Reyes allegedly perpetrated by a Venezuelan citizen, last Saturday.

The 22-year-old girl was murdered in the northern Ecuadorean city of Ibarra, allegedly by a man of Venezuelan origin, who held her hostage for 90 minutes in front of police officers and numerous onlookers.

 

After the incident, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno, issued a statement in which he called for "the immediate formation of task forces to control the situation of Venezuelan immigrants on the streets, in workplaces and on the border." The Ecuadorean Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner elaborated by announcing that Ecuador will demand Venezuelans entering the country to have apostilled criminal records.

This statement generated a wave of violence from Ecuadorean citizens against Venezuelans in general, mainly in the city of Ibarra but not exclusively. According to the charge d'affaires of the Venezuelan embassy in Ecuador, Pedro Sassone, all the beneficiaries of the  Plan Vuelta a la Patria "were subjected to xenophobia, discrimination and labor exploitation" as stated in their interviews.

The Return to Homeland Plan has helped over 9,000 Venezuelans return home from various Latin American countries, however, it was intensified this week in Ecuador. "We decided to accelerate the process due to the situation that arose in Ecuador due to the development of a response of xenophobia against Venezuelans. Unfortunately, it is a generalized social situation that we have been perceiving, " Sassone said.

The Ecuadorean Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Valencia rejected the accusations that say Ecuador is promoting xenophobia against Venezuelan migrants. "It is absurd that you want to give Ecuador something that does not go with the spirit or with the way of thinking and acting of Ecuadoreans," said Valencia from Davos.

On Monday, Jorge Arreaza demanded that President Lenin Moreno stop the xenophobia and persecution against Venezuelan citizens after the femicide of Diana Carolina Rodriguez Reyes. Also, several sectors of Ecuadorian society, authorities, activists and nationals around the world rejected Moreno's announcement for inciting xenophobia.

Former Politics Minister and now a candidate for the Pichincha province which includes the capital city of Quito among its environs, Paola Pabon wrote on her Twitter account: "President Lenin: Exacerbating xenophobia is not the solution. We want your answers and those of your minister. Instead of encouraging hate crimes, explain, for example, the reduction of the budget to eradicate gender violence. No more smoke screens!"

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