Family of baby Yaelvis Santoyo settle in Canada as refugees

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

SLOW WALK: In this February file photo, Venezuelans Yermi Santoyo and his wife Yaelvis Sarabia, speak with Newsday reporter Grevic Alvarado on Oxford Street in Port of Spain. File photo/Jeff K Mayers

Relatives of Venezuelan baby Yaelvis Santoyo, one, who was shot dead by a TT Coast Guard officer in February, arrived in Canada on Tuesday in a resettlement organised by the UNHCR and the Canadian government.

Yermis Santoyo (Yaelvis’s father), Darielvis Sarabia (mother) and Danna (older sister) arrived in Canada on Tuesday.

Damarys Rangel and Karla Henríquez, representatives of the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) confirmed the arrival of the three in an interview with international media.

They were taken in by the Canadian government under a refugee protection programme.

Rangel said this happened after a legal fight of several months to achieve protection for the family. Henriquez said the family entered Canada through the safe third-country resettlement system.

She said they are permanent residents and will receive financial, medical and logistical support from the Canadian authorities.

Rangel and Henríquez said they will continue to insist on investigations to determine responsibility for the death of Yaelvis.

“We went to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about the health situation of Yaelvis’s mother and we still have no answers,” said Rangel.

She said Sarabia still has a disabiled left arm from the gunshot she suffered the night her son died.

On February 5 , Yaelvis, her mother and her sister were in a boat approaching the southern coast of Trinidad when the Coast Guard intercepted it.

In a press release, the Coast Guard claimed the ship’s captain tried to ram the Coast Guard ship, and in response, the boat’s engine was fired upon.

Yaelvis was hit in the head and died on board the boat.

His mother, father and sister received a temporary permit to sat in TT.

A group of lawyers has continued to work for justice for the child’s death.