Repatriation: Larger group of Slovenians from Venezuela arrive in Slovenia
A larger group of Slovenians from Venezuela who applied for repatriation have already arrived in Slovenia, told State Secretary Olga Belec at the press conference held at the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad. The repatriation is still open and the Office is accepting new applications. So far, repatriation has been approved to 29 persons of which 21 are already in Slovenia. All those who arrived in Slovenia are feeling well and relieved to live in peace and freedom.
So far, the state has received a request for the repatriation of about 50 people. The Office has issued 16 decisions for 29 persons; six came to Slovenia in December and the remaining 15 in January. According to the decisions issued, eight more persons are expected; some are waiting for the end of the school year, while others are still handling personal matters. In fact, it is estimated that about 15 more persons are to come to Slovenia, as some are required to complete their applications.
The Office stresses that the conditions for repatriation are very strict, namely, the applicants must prove their Slovenian origin, attach documents proving their impunity, but also maintain active ties with Slovenia, i.e. be active in Slovenian associations.
Of those repatriated so far, two-thirds live with relatives, while a third of them were assisted by the state in finding accommodation. They are spread throughout the country, but in principle they live where they are most likely to get a job. According to Secretary Belec, everyone wants to find a job as soon as possible; some have even been on job interviews. Although many do not speak Slovenian, they started to learn or improve their language skills immediately upon arrival.
Repatriation in Slovenia is governed by the act on relations between the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovenians living abroad, and provides that the state may provide for the immigration of Slovenians living in countries affected by a severe economic and political crisis. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly established that this is the case for Venezuela, which is why the government received several initiatives over the past months to provide for compatriots living in there.
According to official data, Venezuela, which for several years has been shaken by an economic, political and social crisis, is the host country to 335 Slovenian citizens and up to one thousand people of Slovenian descent. Slovenians moved to Venezuela mainly in the period between World War I and II, while a larger wave was also recorded after World War II. Numerous individuals, mostly people from the Primorska region, followed them there up to the late 1950s. According to various sources and testimonies, it is estimated that by 1960 some 550 to 800 Slovenians had reached Venezuela.