On Wednesday, November 7, 160 Haitians were the first to return to Haiti, within the framework of the Humanitarian Return Plan promoted by the Chilean Government that contemplates demanding conditions, including signing a commitment not to return to Chile in nine years.
The Boeing 767 of the Air Force took off and 55 Haitians stood by, arms crossed, astonished: they could not climb. They did not manage to return their country. Since then, there have been three flights to Port-au-Prince, and in each of them a similar number of immigrants can not get on and there they were, Adrift.
They were transferred to the Estacion Central Municipal Gymnasium and later they were taken to the Santa Cruz Parish of Estacion Central, in the town of Los Nogales, which functioned as a temporary shelter. So far, with the support of the municipalidad, Haitians who have not managed to get on the plane have spent their days and nights there, waiting for their return to their country, without the support of the State. The administrator of the parish, Cristina Castro Poblete, who has had an intense and important contact with the Haitians who have seen her return delayed, taid that, if it were not for them, “they would have stayed in the street”.
“I believe that the Humanitarian Return Plan has nothing humanitarian, is a covert deportation because a return does not have so many conditions and does not prohibit you from entering the country as if you were a criminal, let alone 50 people are left below. humanitarian that they have not even taken care of people, not even a glass of water, “She said.
How did the first Haitians arrive who did not manage to take the plane to this parish?
When the plan began, they had to register in some municipality, and in the end, many of them registered in the Central Station, and when it was the day of the flight there were 55 people who stayed down and who had registered in the Central Station . . The municipality came to us, because we had experience in this, in functioning as a refuge, that is why they came here.
What has been the experience of living with them?
The truth is that with the language barrier there are few Spanish speakers and I and the people of the parish did not bother to ask them how they feel and make them talk about their private lives, because we do not want to criticize or judge them, because the fact is to welcome and help them. But, in my personal opinion, I think they want to leave because they do not have a job or because they were discriminated against. Chile was not what they expected.
How do you evaluate the role of the Government with the Haitians who have fallen behind with the Return Plan?
Source of government support, was not present in anything. It is a government situation, not the municipality, they should have been in charge. When we need to help people with the government, they provided support, breakfast arrived for the protected people, hot lunch. Now, we are in the parish kitchen for those who stay here, and the government does not help us at all.
In what mood were they when they arrived at the parish?
At the beginning they were very anxious, with a lot of anger, annoyed with the world, but with the passing of the days they understood that it was not our responsibility.
What would have happened if the parish had not interceded?
I think they would be in the street or maybe if we had not taken charge, maybe the Government would have done something.
What image do you have of Chile after the history of Haitians who have not managed to get on planes?
Although they say that in Chile the stranger is well received, I think the country did not know that it was racist, but we are. The country, although it does not assume it, is racist, and although many Haitians have had the luck to have a job, let’s not say that the treatment is the best, in many of them they get exploited.