So far a total of 9,900 Venezuelans have returned to their home country with the Vuelta a la Patria (Return to the Homeland Plan) sponsored by the Nicolas Maduro administration.
That number was tallied after some 80 Venezuelans flew into the International Airport of Maiquetia Simon Bolivar in Caracas from Bogota, Colombia on Saturday.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza welcomed them back by Twitter saying the citizens “who had left the country looking for new opportunities and only found unemployment, xenophobia, discrimination and labor exploitation. #VueltaALaPatria.”
According to government estimates, 6,663 Venezuelans have come back from Brazil, 1,102 from Peru, 1,014 from Ecuador, 395 returned from Colombia, and 186 from the Dominican Republic. Another 171 have returned to Venezuela from Argentina via the Return to the Homeland Plan. Over 90 came from Chile.
“I have ordered the activation of an airlift based on the Return to the Homeland Plan to bring back all the Venezuelans who have registered and who want to come back to their beloved land. There is a campaign of hatred, persecution, and xenophobic contempt against the people of Venezuela. A global campaign headed by spokespeople of the United States making declarations against the people of Venezuela accusing us of migrating, and creating a scandal,” Maduro said in early September.
The plan, which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro introduced on Aug. 4, envisions that returning Venezuelans can be reinserted into the life they left with the help of various national social programs. Their return home is paid for by the Maduro administration.
Upon returning home, participants are asked to share their reasons for returning. According to a survey, 60 percent returned home due to economic difficulties, 47 percent were greeted with xenophobia while abroad, and health concerns or unaffordable medical care brought at least 12 percent back to Venezuelan soil.
When another 80 came back home with the help of the Venezuelan government from Colombia in mid-November, Arreaza tweeted then: “Many testimonies of exploitation and deceptive offers in Colombia.”