"In Venezuela, we are faced with a critical situation that has broken every parameter," explains Fr Méndez. In fact, since 2017 the Venezuelan migration crisis has been truly worrying. For the UN and its High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), addressing the situation of migrants is part of the aid projects for those who have been forced to move to other territories in search of security.
In this context of confinement for COVID-19, many Venezuelans are returning to their country, due to the unexpected closure of aid and assistance that they could or may have received from other organizations in other countries.
Many had walked for weeks in the past years and months; they were hungry and cold, but in the end they reached other countries with the hope of starting over; now they have had to return, frustrated by the pandemic. Who can now think, take care of them, hungry and in need of everything? Who can go out on the streets now and give them a piece of bread or a glass of water?
The national government has asked the Salesians of Venezuela to make two works available. The first is the Don Bosco Agricultural Center in Carrasquero, in the state of Zulia, near the border with Colombia. Currently, a group of 290 people live under compulsory isolation, supervised by military personnel and doctors appointed by the national government. The Salesian Community helps these people spiritually and provides them with food.
The second work is in Duaca, in the State of Lara, a center dedicated to the care of young people from all over the country during the Vocational Discernment Days, which will host about 200 people.
“We Salesians in Venezuela know that this is an important moment to reach out to those in need, and we continue to open the doors to the marginalized of this pandemic. Opening our Salesian houses and giving food to the poor is the answer to the emergencies that our most needy brothers are experiencing," Fr Mendéz underscores.