The growing expression of xenophobic comments towards the Venezuelan community has left many of them frightened, but many of them say they are just asking for a chance to prove their critics wrong.
The group Venezuelans United by Work has been sourcing jobs for Venezuelan migrants even before the registration process began, but they are hoping the registration will now allow for the community to show just what they can contribute to the country.
“Although some persons, not all in Trinidad, some persons in Trinidad they look at us as bad people. But not all of us are bad. We have the desire (to do good) here in Trinidad. There are many things that we have and I will want to teach the people in Trinidad about the good things that we have,” said Wilfredo Lopez, an administrator with the group, “I make a call to our people from Venezuela, to do the right things.”
“A lot of us feel a fright because all we feeling that all we want is one chance to do, develop ourselves, and help the nation develop too,” said Kevin Pollidore, a Venezuelan car painter, who has come to the group to find work.
Founder of the group Said Subero pointed out that the migrant groups have come to Trinidad before and built positive contributions to the country’s growth to this day.
“If we get together we think we can make it. You need love, that is what we need, so we can progress in the country. Because migrants from other countries come into Trinidad, and they went to Venezuela and they are prospering in the country once they work in love and they work in peace and do honest work,” said Subero.
“I see Syrians get together, they prove themselves. I see Indian get together, they prove themselves. And also the Chinese people, they work together and prove themselves. So we want to do the same thing, we want to be a big group of people so we can set the example for Venezuelans to prove themselves.”
Subero established the group with the help of his daughter, Shivonne Subero, whose mother is Trinidadian.
“He just wants to have a hub where we could be able to help a lot these people to different jobs in the sense that they could be able to have some sort of income at the moment while they find something stable. Whether it’s a stable job or it’s a contract or it’s small job whether it’s painting,” she said.
The younger Subero, who grew up in Venezuelan but completed her tertiary education in Trinidad, said she was hurt by the trials Venezuelans had gone through during the registration process and hoped that the process would not be so rough going forward.
The group also shot down some of the commentaries that suggested the registration was a political measure.
“We are not political, we have nothing to do with any political issue. We just want an independent group that can help us organise get jobs,” said Apolonia Campos.