Coronavirus: Ecuador and Venezuela coordinated six humanitarian repatriation flights

A group of people queue to register their luggage at the Simón Bolívar International Airport, in Maiquetía (Venezuela). EFE / Miguel Gutiérrez / Archive

The governments of Ecuador and Venezuela coordinated six repatriation flights to return citizens of both countries who have been stranded in the other’s territory due to the pandemic, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry reported this Monday.

Is about “six flights for the transfer of Venezuelan citizens who were in Ecuador in a state of vulnerability“Says the official statement, and”for Ecuadorians who stayed in Venezuela due to the pandemic”.

The first two flights left on Friday and Saturday with 85 and 100 passengers respectively, including 31 children who were traveling with their parents or legal representatives.

The planes, from the Conviasa company, arrived in the Andean country “with a similar number of travelers, both Ecuadorians and Venezuelans who, after seven months, managed to return due to the closure of airports and borders of both countries.”

The remaining flights are scheduled for November 20 and 27, in which Venezuelans who wish to return to their country are expected to travel within the framework of the so-called “Plan Vuelta a la Patria”, for migrants who lack their own means for their return.

Medical personnel perform PCR tests on passengers arriving at the Quito airport (Ecuador).  EFE / José Jácome / Archive

Medical personnel perform PCR tests on passengers arriving at the Quito airport (Ecuador). EFE / José Jácome / Archive

Since the massive Venezuelan exodus began in 2018, due to the political and economic situation in that country, more than 1.6 million migrants have passed through Ecuador, the majority bound for Peru and Chile.

Of all of them, around 400,000 remained in EcuadorAlthough the consequences of the pandemic have seriously worsened their socioeconomic situation, so many have shown their desire to return to Venezuela.

However, the closure of land borders due to the pandemic and the lack of economic possibilities prevent them from doing so by their own means.

Their legal situation in Ecuador could also be complicated because all the registries authorized by the Government of Quito to qualify for regularization have been closed, and thousands of them have not completed the process.

(With information from EFE)

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