Smolansky confirmed that in addition to the infants, there were 13 adults, mostly women, on the two boats.
“They reached the south coast after 48 hours at sea,” he confirmed to CCN Radio.
The Commissioner explained that half an hour after they were deported, without their parents or representatives, the engine of one of the peñeros broke down, which further complicated the journey of the boat.
He also said that Venezuelans who arrive in Trinidad and Tobago are fleeing a complex humanitarian crisis and crimes against humanity committed by Nicolás Maduro’s regime and the shortage of basic services.
“How desperate does a Venezuelan have to be to take a ‘peñero’ (fishing canoe, skiff) to get to a Caribbean island?” He asked.
The Commissioner also recalled that Trinidad and Tobago ratified the American Convention on Human Rights and the 1951 Convention on Refugees which obliges a country to support migrants as refugees, recognize them as such and implement non refoulement.
However, he emphasized that the government of Trinidad and Tobago does not comply with the treaties to which they are signatories and exposes Venezuelans to xenophobia and mistreatment.
“This is a very common practice in Trinidad and Tobago since the pandemic began,” he said.
Smolansky urged Trinidad and Tobago to have these 16 children reunite with their families, obtain their documentation, and be legally admitted as refugees.
“There must be the political will to protect Venezuelans and there must be a human feeling,” he insisted.