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Migrants rescued at Klein Curaçao

13 May 2017

WILLEMSTAD–The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard rescued 26 Venezuelans stranded on the small, uninhabited island off Curaçao called “Klein (Little) Curaçao” Friday, in the latest case of migrants fleeing an economic and social crisis at home.

As millions of Venezuelans suffer food shortages, medicine scarcity, political turmoil and soaring crime, some are leaving to nearby islands and bordering countries. People smugglers brought the 18 men, seven women and one teenager from the South American mainland, said Coast Guard spokesman Roderick Gouverneur.IMG 6255 2

Klein Curaçao is a tiny island used mainly for tourism day trips by boat about 30 kilometres southeast of Curaçao. The migrants found there were hungry and dehydrated, with some showing cuts on their hands and feet, he added.

“Many times these persons say the situation is alarming in Venezuela, that they do not have food and that they come here for a better life.”

Since January Curaçao has detained at least 100 Venezuelans trying to enter by sea. Most are normally deported.

Migrants pay fishermen to transport them to Curaçao as well as neighbouring Aruba, because of their proximity to Venezuela. To avoid detection, passengers often disembark a few metres from land to swim the last leg, witnesses have said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been facing weeks of nationwide unrest, as hundreds of thousands take to the streets angry at his government’s management of the economy.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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