The president of the United States, Donald Trump, used third countries to continue deporting Venezuelan migrants, a strategy that supposedly served him to avoid a ban on flights to Venezuela that he himself decreed in 2019, revealed this Friday the Democratic senator Bob Menendez.
Menéndez, of Cuban origin and very critical of the Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, affirmed that the deportations took place at least until March of this year and assured that the flights originating in the United States made a stopover in Trinidad and Tobago before arriving. to Venezuela.
This route supposedly sought to circumvent a regulation that the president decreed in May 2019 to prevent any flight to Venezuela.
The Panamanian airline Copa violated that rule by transporting passengers from the US to Venezuela with a stopover in Panama and had to assume a fine of $ 450.000.
For this reason, Menéndez believes that the deportation of Venezuelans could be a violation of US law due to these restrictions on air traffic; Furthermore, it is concerned that the lives of those immigrants or refugees have been put in danger.
“US law strongly prohibits the forcible return of refugees to a place where their lives or freedom would be threatened; US regulations have suspended all air travel to Venezuela; and US foreign policy must be based on countering the systematic abuses of human rights by the Maduro regime, "said Menéndez.
The senator, the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, asked the government to immediately provide Congress with information on those deportations that had been kept secret until now and to reveal the exact number of Venezuelans who have been expelled from the United States. USA
The information Menéndez revealed is based on documents that the State Department delivered to the Senate Foreign Committee in recent weeks and in which it confirms that Trinidad and Tobago was used as a stopping point for deportations at least between January and March this year.
The suspension of US flights to Venezuela came after Maduro severed diplomatic relations with Washington after, in January 2019, Trump recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.
Venezuela has now become a key issue for the November presidential elections due to the weight of the Cuban and Venezuelan vote in the key state of Florida.
To capture that vote, Trump has decreed more sanctions and restrictions on Cuba and Venezuela; While the Democrats in Congress, including Menéndez, have asked the Executive to grant Venezuelans living in the United States an immigration permit to live and work in the country, known as the Temporary Protection Statute (TPS).
The Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has promised that he will adopt less belligerent policies towards Cuba and Venezuela.