Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro tells people fleeing country: 'Stop cleaning toilets abroad and come back'

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez claims there have been 'thousands of requests for help' since the president's plea

Thursday 30 August 2018 15:21 BST
President Nicolas Maduro urges Venezuelan migrants to return home from ‘economic slavery’ in other countries

President Nicolas Maduro has made a plea to Venezuelan migrants to repatriate, telling them to "stop cleaning toilets abroad" and to return home.

Approximately 1.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015, according to figures released by the United Nations, amid growing political and economic turmoil.

The nation's government has claimed that since Mr Maduro told Venezuelan migrants to “stop cleaning toilets abroad and come back to live in your homeland", thousands have made it clear that they want to return.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that Venezuelan embassies all over the world had received "thousands of requests for help" from citizens hoping to return to the country.

After the comments, nearly one hundred Venezuelan migrants in Peru made an unexpected journey home after deciding to take up their government's offer of a free flight back.

With packed suitcases in hand, the migrants boarded an all-expenses paid flight on 27 August to the capital city Caracas - a trip that most would be unable to afford on their own.

"My experience wasn't pleasant," said Aury Durand, 24, who is eight months pregnant. She said she was returning with a mix of "happiness and rage" after working long hours at a car wash and only getting one-third of the wages she was due.

"I'll be happy to see my country, whatever state it's in," she said.

It is thought that between 700 and 800 Venezuelans are entering Brazil each day and the country’s president, Michel Temer, has said that authorities are considering limiting the number.

Mr Temer said one option would be limit the number of people entering each day to 100 to 200.

Roraima state has tried to temporarily shut the border, but the federal government has pushed to keep it open.

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