Earlier this week, Chilean Chancellor Roberto Ampuero announced that Chile will charter a plane from the Air Force in order to transport Chileans residing in Venezuela who wish to return home.
“The Chancellor’s office will help a large group of Chileans who wish to return from Venezuela,” Ampuero wrote in a communique. “Due to the grave difficulties that they face living there, they want to come back to our country and we will help them come back to Chile.”
Venezuela is currently experiencing a 149,000% rate of inflation and has severe food and medical shortages. During Chile’s violent military dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet, thousands of exiled Chileans sought refuge in the Caribbean country, but as the humanitarian crisis worsens, they are now looking to return.
Ampuero explained that they would be using the same planes that form part of the controversial “Humanitarian Return Plan,” which has already seen 160 Haitians transported back to their native country from Chile. Despite accusations that it was a racist policy, many of the Haitians on the flight were happy to return home as they had not found the opportunities they had hoped for in Chile.
For those Chileans stranded in Venezuela and wishing to return home, these planes will offer free transport as long as they fulfil three requirements, explained in the communique.
“The requirements to return to Chile are: that they don’t have the means to return home themselves, that they are returning home voluntarily, and that they have a close acquaintance or family member in Chile who promises to support their installation into national territory after their return.”
Ampuero stated that the first flight is likely to return the Chilean citizens in the second half of November. The Chancellor’s office have already helped 75 citizens return home and are currently dealing with 200 petitions from Chileans still in Venezuela.
“This is a great opportunity,” added Ampuero. “Not only because we manage to bring home a large group all in one go, but also because doing this we reduce the costs that would have been incurred by returning 200 Chileans home individually, one by one.”
The first flight hopes to bring back around 100 people and another flight will be organised to return the remainder.