“HE DIED IN MY ARMS”- Venezuelan Mom whose 9-month-old was shot dead by T&T Coast Guards

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Venezuelan mother Darielvis Sarabia and her two young children were seated among a group of 20 people in a pirogue that set off from the river town of Tucupita, Venezuela, at nightfall on Saturday bound for Trinidad.


Sarabia was traveling to be reunited with her husband who came to this country eight months ago in search of a better life for his family.
In the vessel, the young mother held her one-year-old boy to her bosom, while her two-year-old girl sat close by.


Sarabia was seated near the engine and as the seas got rough she held on to her children, praying for their safety, a relative told the Trinidad Express.


The migrant vessel was intercepted by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard as it entered the country’s local waters.
“She (Sarabia) told her family that the boat captain attempted to turn around but the Coast Guard officers started shooting at the engine,” the relative said.


Sarabia’s baby boy Yaelvis Santoyo Sarabia was shot in the head, the force of the impact taking off part of his skull.
He died in his mother’s arms. She was also wounded.
In a series of voice notes shared by Venezuelan lawyer Orlando Moreno of the Foro Penal advocacy group, Sarabia was heard screaming in anguish.


“They killed my little boy. They shot and shot and they killed him… he died in my arms,” she shouted in Spanish.
In one of the voice notes, Sarabia’s sister-in-law explained that the mother and two children, a boy and a girl, were on their way to Trinidad on board a vessel with approximately 20 migrants when the T&T Coast Guard fired shots that ended the life of the infant.
“She was sitting at the back of the boat and had two children in her arms. She said that it seemed like there were shots and the motor was damaged or something. She looked at her son’s face and he didn’t have a head,” the relative said.

The wounded mother cradled her dead baby in her arms until the vessel docked at the Coast Guard’s Point Galeota Base in Guayaguayare. The baby’s body was taken away by undertakers and his mother by ambulance to the Sangre Grande Hospital. Sarabia’s two-year-old daughter was detained along with the other migrants.
A relative posted to social media, “We still don’t know where the baby’s body is yet. Her mother is here in the Sangre Grande Hospital and the other girl is in the hands of the Coast Guard.” The father was also desperately trying to find his little girl.


What happened in the waters off Trinidad’s southeast peninsula is being reported by international media and has triggered outrage among advocacy groups. Attorney Moreno said that the action taken by the T&T Coast Guard was unwarranted.
He called for “judicial intervention” from the Government, a call that was echoed by Venezuela’s Opposition leader Juan Guaido.
“The death of a Venezuelan boy, who along with his mother fled from the dictatorship, hurts our soul as a country…The Government of Trinidad and Tobago must establish responsibilities and do justice. Venezuelans on that island have been victims of shootings, deportations and shipwrecks. Enough of the mistreatment of our migrants and refugees by an ally of Maduro,” Guaido wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, Sarabia’s sister-in-law-Daicelis Salgado, said she had warned her brother about the dangers of bringing his wife and young children to Trinidad.

Following the death of a Venezuelan infant, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley spoke out.
In a statement, Dr Rowley said: ‘I just spoke to the Vice President of the Government of Venezuela. I conveyed our deepest sympathy to the family and wider Venezuelan community at this time of grief over the loss of life of the young child, at sea, during security operations involving TT Coast Guard and traffickers transporting illicit entrants.’
The PM said he also conveyed sympathies on his own behalf and on behalf of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

(Extracted from the Trinidad Express)

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