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Johandry Espinosa

Carisa Lee

News of the murder of Venezuelan National Jhandrys Espinoza at Flagstaff Hill, St James, last Thursday by someone she knew, has started a social media movement in her home country, with one politician describing T&T as the devil’s destination.

Using the hashtag JusticiaParaJhandrys (Justice for Jhandrys) politicians and citizens call for a fair investigation into the murder of the 32-year-old woman whose autopsy showed that she was pregnant when she was strangled to death.

On Tuesday, a 42-year-old Cuban national, Aroldo Vidal Gutierrez, was charged with Jhandrys’ murder.

She was the second Venezuelan woman to be killed during a domestic dispute in this country in just over a month.

In September Johanna Díaz, 33, was found dead in a cesspit. She too was killed by someone she knew.

President of Venezuela’s National Assembly and the man the United States recognised as the country’s leader Juan Guaidó joined the cause and tweeted that his countrymen were fleeing an emergency and a dictatorship in order to survive not to be victims of violence and atrocity.

Other politicians blamed the country’s political climate for the murders of their nationals abroad.

Deputy of the National Assembly Manuela Bolívar tweeted about what he deemed the inaction of the authorities in the face of gender and xenophobic violence in T&T that continue to claim the lives of Venezuelan women.

Venezuelan National Rafael Perdomo Agudelo described Trinidad as the devil’s destination for Venezuelans while Gabriela Rincones said Trinidad and Tobago has been a real disgrace for Venezuelans.

According to reports, police received a domestic violence call at Flagstaff St James and when they arrived they were told that the victim was asleep by Gutierrez. But when police checked they found the woman lying on her bed on her back, she was unresponsive. The officers then checked for signs of life, but there were none.

Neighbours said the couple always fought but described their last altercation as the worse. They said they heard howling and screaming the day she died but they didn’t intervene.

A man, claiming to be the woman’s husband on social media, posted that Espinoza was a victim of domestic violence after they separated, but he described her as a good wife and stepmother who was caring and respectful.

In 2019, 16,523 Venezuelans were registered in this country for one year they were given a six-month extension in January 2020 and in June Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that Venezuelan migrants who signed up to work and stay in T&T for a one-year period would be extended due to COVID-19 pandemic.