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Jan 31, 2022

All COPA Passengers Denied Entry Mid-January Have Left Belize

The Minister of Immigration has provided an update on the situation of the remaining Venezuelans who were refused entry into Belize on January eighteenth. The ministry says that all the passengers have now left the country. On January twenty-second, sixteen of the initial groups were left behind – eight were handed over to Help for Progress after they told U.N.H.C.R. representatives that they were seeking asylum in Belize. The other eight remained contained at the Biltmore because they had tested positive for COVID-19. As you would recall, two days later, the Venezuelans left the Help for Progress compound in Belmopan and reportedly crossed the border into Mexico. But, there was an interesting turn of events last week, when the U.N.H.C.R. National Office requested that seven of the eight Venezuelans at Biltmore also be turned over to Help for Progress because they too were seeking asylum.  Well, given what happened the previous week and U.N.H.C.R. saying that it was unable to “secure the stay of these asylum seekers in the Help for Progress shelter”. G.O.B. refused the request and the group, at the expense of COPA Airlines, was flown out to Panama via TAG Airlines on Saturday. Because the ministry is concerned others posing as tourists may attempt to also use Belize as a stopping off point as they migrate elsewhere, Cabinet has given its approval for the Ministry of Immigration to impose visa requirements for nationals of Venezuela, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

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