The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard killed a Venezuelan nine-month-old baby and injured his mother after opening fire on a boat carrying about 40 migrants.
In a statement, the Coast Guard claimed the crew acted in self-defense following alleged aggressive maneuvers by the migrant vessel. The fatal shooting took place on Saturday night when the boat was intercepted crossing into Trinidad and Tobago waters.
The ramming effort by the suspect vessel which was larger than the [Coast Guard] boat caused the crew to fear for their lives and in self-defense, they fired at the engines in an attempt to bring it to a stop.
After stopping the ship, coastguard officers went on board and found a group of Venezuelan migrants hidden inside, including one adult female holding an infant.
Both were bleeding from gunshot wounds and the child was found unresponsive, the communique underlined. The vessel was traveling along a common route for Venezuelans trying to reach Trinidad.
The Trinidadian authorities identified the deceased nine-month-old baby as Yaelvis Santoyo Sarabia and his mother as Darielvis Sarabia, who was later stabilized and taken to the Sangre Grande Hospital.
The wounded mother told relatives that the captain tried to turn around upon spotting the Coast Guard ship but it began following and shooting at them. She said she felt something hit her in the chest and immediately looked down and saw the baby’s head broken.
A number of United Nations (UN) agencies likewise denounced the tragic event, demanding special attention, protection and safety for Venezuelan women and children immigrants.
Some 28,500 Venezuelans have made the less than 100-kilometer journey to Trinidad and Tobago since 2015, according to estimates by the Regional Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants of Venezuela (R4V).
With legal ferry routes and flight connections between the nations halted in March 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of Venezuelans have entered Trinidad through small, overcrowded ships with tragedies becoming more frequent in recent years.
In December 2021, twenty people drowned attempting to reach the Caribbean island while another accident that same year left two people dead and several injured.
Port of Spain’s migration policy towards Venezuela has likewise been a contending point between the two countries, with Caracas denouncing heavy-handed measures which violate human rights.
The Trinidadian government claims to have deported at least 16,000 Venezuelans following new procedures to protect its citizens against cheap slave labor.
Around 2,000 Venezuelans have returned to their country citing inflated living costs after Trinidad reopened its borders on July 17, 2021, a local outlet reported.
According to UN figures, over five million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015 as an economic crisis caused by IMF measures gripped the South American nation.
The population’s living conditions significantly worsened following Washington’s financial sanctions and full-fledged embargo imposed in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
Venezuela Analysis / ABC Flash Point News 2022.
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Venezuela Analysis !
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