It was at 9:08 am Thursday when the second group of Costa Rica repatriated from Venezuelan were back on Tico soil.

The group, made up of five adults and three minors, had been in a situation of vulnerability in the South American country.  Photo from Costa Rica’s immigration service.

“The return to Costa Rica of the group was achieved through a joint work planned from months ago by the Directorate of Integration and Human Development of the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners and the Consular Department of the General Directorate of the Foreign Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” says Costa Rica’s immigration service, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería Costa Rica (DGME) in a statement.

Also, Migración said: “there was the assistance and accompaniment of the Consulate General in Panama City during the transit of Costa Ricans through that country.”

The arrival of the Costa Ricans takes place given the socio-political and economic situation that Venezuela is going through.

The repatriation process of this second group began to take shape since last July, following the repatriation of the first group. In the case of minors, an exit permit from Venezuela had to be requested, since they hold Venezuelan nationality in addition to Costa Rican.

The repatriation came at a cost of some ¢5 million colones, according to the DGME, with resources coming from the Fondo Social Migratorio.

Glad to be back on Tico soil. Photo from Costa Rica’s immigration service

Marcos Castillo, 53, has practically lived a life residing in Venezuela, his father took him to that country while still a child, said: “They took me to study. Happy to get back to Costa Rican soil. I consider and feel that only in a democracy can one live well, a stable life, a proper life,” he said.

Armando Giralt, 64, also recalls being taken to Venezuela at a young age with his family. To make the flight that brought him to Costa Rica he traveled 18 hours by land from San Antonio del Táchira, near the border with Colombia, to get to Caracas. “I am happy to arrive in Costa Rica. I feel they have given me great support. We plan to make a new life. Sad because I could not bring my wife, for lack of documents. It has been impossible,” said Giralt.

The Directorate of Integration and Human Development of the DGME reported that in 2018 it carried out 20 repatriations due to a situation of vulnerability and 2 bodies of Costa Ricans who died abroad. Meanwhile, so far in 2019, there have been 18 repatriations due to vulnerability, including the one on Thursday.