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Lustay Franco.

A group of university students led by Venezuelan opposition politician Edwin Luzardo delivered a letter to the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Caracas yesterday, demanding an end to “the mistreatment of Venezuelans.”

The group also called for “justice, respect for the lives of all Venezuelan migrants” and urged the T&T authorities not to continue to be “accomplices of the Nicolás Maduro regime for crimes against humanity, for not complying with international treaties for the protection of refugees.”

The letter was delivered to an embassy official by Lustay Franco, general secretary of the Federation of University Centres of the Central University of Venezuela (FCU-UCV).

Luzardo accused the Maduro regime and the T&T Government of violating the right to life of Venezuelan migrants.

Yesterday’s action followed the drowning of a reported 20 Venezuelan migrants en route to T&T from Güiria. Residents there held a candlelight procession in memory of the victims on Monday. Venezuelan journalist Ariana Agreda reported that relatives of the victims are claiming that the arrest of Luis Alí Martínez, owner vessel that sank, was unfair. They said Martínez, who has been charged with trafficking in persons, is the father of one of the deceased.

In a statement yesterday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on governments to halt the unsafe maritime returns of migrants.

“Once again, we call on governments to stop returns at sea in violation of the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of collective expulsions and suspend all forced returns amid the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the health of migrants and communities,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

Meanwhile, the bodies of 19 of the 21 drowning victims have been identified

Reports are that a temporary morgue was set up at the Güiria dock where a group of pathologists carried out autopsies on the bodies. This was confirmed in a police report.

The persons identified were Giomarys Jaime,18, Ángel Subero, 30, Yunnior Salaverria, 18, Pedro Aguilera, 23, Viannelys Moreno, 34, Dariangelys Martínez Rausseo, 2, Dulce Pérez, 22, Juana Caraballo, 67, Roxy Rigaud, 19, Analize Martínez, 6, Ines Subero, 34, Raudelys Salazar, 23, Gabriela Subero, 33, Dylan Astudillo, 3, Claudis Esteban, 21, Josaidis Dias Acosta, 26, Daniel Patinez, 8, Santos Sucre, 38, and José Natera, 33.

The bodies of three men are yet to be identified.