Kidnapped Venezuelan woman: I thought they would kill me

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Maryeisy Carolina Barrios-Baldallo –

When Maryeisy Carolina Barrios-Baldallo was awoken and snatched from her bed by gunmen early on Tuesday morning, she did not know what would happen to her next, but she feared the worst.

Barrios-Baldallo, 22, was at home at Demerara Road, Wallerfield, Arima, when four gunmen entered the house. They tied up two Venezuelan co-tenants.

Her husband Jofre Piñero Herrera was also home, but left to get help before the bandits saw him.

Barrios-Baldallo was forced into the back seat of a black Mitsubishi SUV.

Eventually she was released by her kidnappers at around 6 pm on Tuesday.

Speaking with Newsday outside the Arima police station, where she and her husband were waiting to be interviewed by police on Wednesday morning, Barrios-Baldallo said during the ordeal, she was afraid she would be killed.

“God really protected me. I’m just happy to return alive. I thought I would have been killed or that they would have taken me away and that I wouldn’t have come back.”

Barrios-Baldallo said she could not identify where her kidnappers took her, but believed it was somewhere in the hills of Arima, judging from the movement of the car.

She said she was not beaten.

She was released near the Larry Gomes Stadium, and from there she was able to get a car to take her to her home in Demerara Road, where she was reunited with her husband before going to the Arima police station and the Arima Hospital, where she was examined.

Barrios-Baldallo said she spoke on Tuesday night with her family in Venezuela, who had asked for constant updates on the situation from her husband.

“Everyone back home is fine. They were very worried about me. I know my mother was sending him (Herrera) a lot of voice notes on WhatsApp and he didn’t answer, because he was looking for me and was worried as well.”

The situation has left her shaken and fearful, but she does not have any ill will towards TT and its people. She hopes violence towards Venezuelan women will stop.

“Lately a lot of Venezuelan women have gone through many terrors. They have been kidnapped, abused and mistreated – there are many crimes against us.

“I do not discriminate against the country, but I only ask that these things stop happening. There is too much suffereing and violence please.”

On May 17 a 22-year-old Venezuelan woman was robbed and raped by a taxi driver in Aripo.

Barrios-Baldallo said she and her husband were moving out of the house at Demerara Road, out of concern for their safety.

“We are all going to leave. We are already making arrangements to go to another place. We don’t want any more danger to our lives.”

Newsday also visited the house and spoke with one of the Venezuelans who
is also a tenant. He said he would also be moving to another area.

“I have my two small children who live with me here as well. I don’t want anything happening to them, so I’m going somewhere else.”

Up to Wednesday afternoon no arrests had been made.

Arima police are continuing enquiries.