«Not all Trinidadians are bad, others are supportive»

Foto: imagen de referencia tomada de internet, sin autoría especificada.

Smith is a journalist from Trinidad and Tobago. In 2019 he traveled to Cuba on vacation. Once in Havana, he stopped being a tourist for a moment and realized the poverty. He linked this problem with that of Venezuelans.

He quickly knew that what he was watching on the Telesur television channel was false. Nobody told him, he himself confirmed it. However, this same media also shows a happy and unproblematic Venezuela, while Venezuelans ran through their window, in Princes Town, to avoid being caught by the police.

At the end of 2019, he met a Venezuelan couple: Cristian Jiménez and Gregoria Ruiz, two illegal migrants from Carúpano, Sucre state. Both Creoles are professionals who did not see their living conditions improve and that is why they fled Venezuela from hunger. His knowledge was not valid in his country.

Smith first wanted to do a report on the feat of Venezuelans after having left the years of studies behind, to finally end up working in a restaurant and planting tomatoes. Smith finally decided not to do it and preferred to be closer, to learn more about Venezuelan culture. They told him about those Trinidadian migrants who settled in Güiria and Tucupita.

They established a very close friendship. Smith, the 27-year-old Trinidadian journalist, can barely speak Spanish, but enough for Cristian and Gregoria to understand. As the days went by, the journalist stopped being that professional, to be simply “Un Pana”.

Smith discovered that the Venezuelan is cheerful, funny, different from other Latinos and that, despite the fact that they like to party, he clarifies that they always comply and do their job well.

“There are exceptions, of course, but as in any culture. First, I was carried away by the xenophobic comments of other people, but when I met Cristian and Gregoria, I changed my opinion about Venezuelans. »

And the coronavirus pandemic arrived. The restrictions began and so did the first consequences for thousands of illegal Venezuelans. The first confinement did not violate all the companies where the Creoles worked. According to several compatriots, the government of Trinidad and Tobago took advantage of the health situation to carry out raids in which they captured illegal migrants.

Smith closely followed the situation of Venezuelan migration and sometimes his editors in the media outlet for which he works, assigned guidelines related to Venezuelans and he liked that.

With the most recent lockdown in which a curfew was imposed, thousands of Venezuelans were left without jobs. They could no longer pay their rents. Smith has stopped being a journalist to help his friends Cristian and Gregoria and promote solidarity among other Trinidadians, who every day help Venezuelans with bags of food and exemption from paying rent, thus demonstrating that not all Trinidadians reject the «Spanish», as some Venezuelans promote it through social networks.

Smith is aware that several families from Trinidad and Tobago selflessly help Venezuelans, some of the Creoles have been welcomed as their own family. And it is the news that he considers should be highlighted.

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