GUYANA: APA calls on Govt. to give more support to Venezuelan migrants

Venezuelan refugees at a landing in Charity, Region #2 Guyana

The APA said its call follows the recent influx of migrants experienced by the Region 2 community of Kabakaburi and their forced relocation that followed just days after, even though the indigenous community began to support and have since indicated their willingness to support them. 

According to the APA, the migrants reportedly paddled for 8 to 10 days before arriving in Kabakaburi, where it was evident that they lacked food, clothing, and in some cases, medical attention. “Their decision to undertake such a lengthy and dangerous journey speaks to the desperation of people whose lives are severely impacted by the ongoing economic crisis in Venezuela and the COVID-19 pandemic,” the indigenous group said in its statement.

“The APA understands that the camp in Khan Hill, Mabaruma District, where these Warraus families have settled, has become overwhelmed. As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, such living conditions will only increase the likelihood of disease transmissions among the population, including COVID-19. Several of the migrants who were relocated remain in contact with residents of Kabakaburi. These migrants continue to call, begging to return for an opportunity to improve their living conditions.”

The APA said as an Indigenous rights-based organisation, “we believe that Indigenous Peoples seeking refuge in Guyana from the ongoing crisis in Venezuela must be given support specific to their needs. Better coordination is needed to include short, medium and long term responses. Guyana has a commitment under international conventions to provide humanitarian support.”

Additionally, the organisation said, where village councils or villages extend their humanitarian arm, the government should support them. “There are pregnant women, children and the elderly who are all caught in this crisis. As a nation, Guyana must ensure that relevant and effective support is provided to all who are seeking it and to all who are lending support.

It should not be lost that the Warraus are part of the demographics of Guyana and Venezuela and that only an international boundary separates the families. They have also contributed significantly to Guyana’s rich cultural and historical heritage including the shell mounds found in North-western Guyana, the origins of the canoe in Haimaracabra, Moruca and the planting of cassava in the Aruka River basin. These brothers and sisters are at home. They ought to be treated with dignity.”

Kaieteur News reported last week that the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force escorted a number of Venezuelans out of Region Two. According to reports reaching Kaieteur News, over one hundred Indigenous Venezuelan nationals were found within the Arpiaco area in the Upper Pomeroon River. The one hundred twenty-five persons escorted out of the region, included men women and children. Reports suggested that the refugee group has been in the Pomeroon for almost an entire week.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the group canoed from the river mouth, all the way to the Kabakaburi community; a 72km journey. Kaieteur News understands that the indigenous group made several stops along the way vandalising several farms in the process. One farmer who was a victim told this publication that her entire farm was destroyed by the Venezuelans. “My son sprayed the oranges on the farm recently, when he gone back to the farm all the oranges gone from the tree. The people pick out all meh coconuts, then they chop down the tree, they destroyed meh plantains and just leave.”

Kaieteur News was told that the last stop for the group was the Kabakaburi area, Upper Pomeroon. The community’s Toshao, Monty Simon, reportedly observed the refugees and recommended that they clear and occupy a piece of land in the Arpiaco area out of pity.

The Regional Democratic Council also played a part in granting aid to the refugees, as they delivered food hampers and tarn poling to them. In an invited comment, the Regional Chairman Vilma De Silva said, “When we learnt that there was a large number of migrants in the area we took some food hampers to support them, because there were even children amongst them and there were concerns that they might be malnourished… they said they wanted a Tarn poling to help set up camp and so we tried to assist there as well.”

The Regional Chairman explained that it was difficult to communicate with the group, as most of them spoke the native Warrau language. The few that spoke Spanish, however, said that they had left Region One, and that there were more of them on the way. Their stay was to be short, however, the police was soon contacted. According to Senior Woman Superintendent of Police, Denise Griffith, a farmer had reported that persons were trespassing on his farm, and he needed them gone. A joint task force consisting of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard Unit was subsequently mobilized.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/19/2022 at 8:08 am

    Caracas Chronicle reported:

    It appears that (oh, surprise!) the region has grown tired of Venezuelan migrants. So, It may be a good time to revisit our migration hostility map, things to consider when looking at our map:

    • Venezuelans were more used to receiving migrants than to emigrating. The opposite is true for the Andean and Caribbean countries: they are much more accustomed, socially and institutionally, to seeing their people leave than to welcoming foreign immigrants.

    • The magnitude of the Venezuelan migrant crisis, made especially of a population in great need of urgent attention, is a logistical and political challenge for any country. Even more so if that country has a political culture where racism or defensive nationalism abound. And it’s even more serious during a pandemic or an economic crisis that makes it more difficult to share limited health care resources.

    • Rich countries and poor countries have something in common: politicians who build their careers by encouraging xenophobia, and who sometimes influence toughening the conditions for the newcomers.

    • The Venezuelan migration is maturing. According to ENCOVI 2021, 2 out of 3 recent Venezuelan migrants (who have migrated in the last 5 years or less) are already in regular condition in their country of destination. 12% acquired the citizenship of the country, 16% permanent residence and 33% have a temporary residence permit.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/19/2022 at 8:11 am

    Caracas Chronicles:

    Hostility Map: The Reception of Venezuelan Migrants Across the Region

  • wally n  On 03/19/2022 at 12:43 pm

    Today mass migration is big money, using the concerns of ordinary people, a few wealthy people are pulling the strings for this scam. The repressed from all over the globe show up at the U S border with debit cards, legal advice and directions, provided by the U N.
    Guyana should be careful, there is only so much they can do, especially when Guyanese themselves, many are in need.There is only so much oil money, (probably) coming, fix your backyard, stop being led by your nose ring.

    • Dennis Albert  On 03/21/2022 at 5:08 pm

      How did the Warrau and Carib tribes feel when millions of migrants from the Old World started settling on the continent from the early 15th century?

      Remember that in 1834 boatloads of indentured labourers from India landed on the shores of Guyana, just as the boats in the picture are that of displaced Amerindian tribes.

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