WILLEMSTAD – 33 Venezuelan migrants imprisoned in Curaçao have gone on hunger strike over the suspension of humanitarian flights to Caracas. The Venezuelans say they are being held in inhumane conditions in a place full of criminals who have committed serious crimes. They also have health problems because of the unsanitary situation.
The group of Venezuelan refugees and crisis migrants has appealed to Human Rights Defense Curacao (HRDC) to help find a solution to their dire situation.
The group consists of 22 men and 11 women. The hunger strike has been carried out as a form of protest since December 24. “Our stay in this prison is illegal, arbitrary and unfair, as the Curaçao government has failed to comply with a provision signed by a representative of the Minister of Justice, Gilmar Pisas, which stipulates that we would be returned to our country of origin no later than December 23, 2021,” they stated in a letter to HRDC.
The Venezuelan government decided to suspend humanitarian flights scheduled for December 21 and 22. The National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC) took this measure after Vice President Delcy Rodríguez denounced on 13 December that the Netherlands was preventing her from traveling to The Hague. There she would meet with the prosecutor of the International Court of Justice, Karim Khan.
The Venezuelans have been in the barracks since November 22. The cells are equipped for only 20 people, but are populated by double the number. “Many of us sleep on the floor on dirty mats, with no sheets, surrounded by mosquitoes, with bathrooms full of stagnant and smelly water,” they write.
Nearly 300 Venezuelans have been unable to return to their country of origin due to the decision in Caracas. To assist the stranded passengers, the Venezuelan consulate has activated the shelter on the Isla refinery site, but it can accommodate only 80 people temporarily.