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Second 'humanitarian flight' set to take off from Chile with 180 Haitians

Devdiscourse News Desk Last Updated at 26-11-2018 21:42:03 IST Chile, Haiti
Second 'humanitarian flight' set to take off from Chile with 180 Haitians
  • (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

Chile is returning a second planeload of Haitian immigrants to their native country on Monday and will make use of the return flight from the Caribbean island to bring home Chileans stranded in crisis-stricken Venezuela.

After dropping off nearly 180 Haitian citizens in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the Chilean air force plane will stop in Caracas to pick up nearly 100 Chileans and fly them back to Santiago, interior minister Andres Chadwick told reporters.

As oil-rich Venezuela's economy has sunk into crisis under President Nicolas Maduro, as many as 1.9 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.

"This will be a humanitarian flight on the way there, and on the way back," Chadwick said.

A total of 1,600 Haitians have signed up for the flights back to Haiti from Chile, part of a program labelled as "humanitarian flights" by the government of centre-right President Sebastian Pinera but criticized by migrant groups as "forced deportations."

The policy is aimed at Haitians who have struggled to find work in one of Latin America's richest economies, in some cases lured to the Andean nation by people traffickers with false promises.

Earlier this month, 176 Haitians returned to Haiti aboard another Chilean air force flight.

The cost-free return trip requires those leaving to sign a declaration that they will not return for nine years and asks they take the immediate family with them.

The policy has generated controversy among some migrant groups, rights campaigners and academics. Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries, blighted by natural disasters, political upheaval and poor security.

Chile's government has said that there are approximately 112,000 Haitians in Chile or about 10 per cent of the total immigrant population.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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