Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) called on the authorities of the country and those of Trinidad and Tobago to respect "fully and without discrimination of any kind all the human rights" of migrants, after the shipwreck in which 20 people died on their way to the island republic. Both Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago "are obliged to respect fully and without discrimination of any kind all human rights of migrants", reads the Bishops' document sent to Fides.
On Monday, December 14, the Venezuelan Public Prosecutor informed that the deaths in connection with the shipwreck are 20 and assured that an investigation is underway to challenge any crimes of human trafficking, even if the opposition claims that they are emigrants.
Through a message on Twitter, prosecutor Tarek William Saab indicated the number of victims and mentioned the arrest of Luis Alí Martínez, a Venezuelan national who "allegedly owned" the ship that sank.
On his Twitter account, on December 14, the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Caracas, Cardinal Baltazar Porras, regretting the deaths of children and adults in the context of the shipwreck off the coast of the state of Sucre over the weekend, reiterated that "this tragedy concerns us all" and added: "I pray to the Lord for the souls of the castaways of Güiria". The Cardinal also asked to reflect on the tragic event, so that it does not happen again: "This should call us to reflection, but also to act so that events of this nature do not repeat themselves".
The shipwreck in Güiria occurred three weeks after a group of Venezuelan migrants, including 16 children, were deported from Trinidad and Tobago and reported missing for almost 48 hours, until they returned to the Caribbean country, where they are still detained while justice evaluates their cases.
Since that episode, which risked becoming an international conflict, CEV has described as "unacceptable and inadmissible the statements of the authorities" of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, which are far from assuming their responsibility, from adopting the necessary measures to prevent such episodes from happening again and to repair the violations of the human rights of migrants.
In this latest statement by the Bishops of Venezuela, the Bishops criticize the "statements made by international officials criminalizing and discrediting of international officials on protection bodies and non-governmental organizations that carry out humanitarian activities with the Venezuelan migrant population, which is a particularly vulnerable group with regard to their rights as human beings and their humanitarian situation". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2020)