Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Anna Levi: The right of asylum; the Venezuelan escape—in prose

Anna Levi: The right of asylum; the Venezuelan escape—in prose

And when they enter the waters of Delta Amacuro

One last look at Tucupita

The wind numbs everyone

Blowing kisses

Venezuela te amo

En mi corazon

The sign of the cross

Ten Hail Marys

The fishermen lifted the children on top of their mother’s plastic suitcases

Then they stuff their money in their diesel stained pockets

Flickering their cigarettes

Puffing away the moment

The current is rough

Fish scales falling from their beards

It is time to wrap their black neck gaiters

Everyone is screaming and vomiting their fate

Photo: Millions of Venezuelans have fled their homeland through any means available.
(via Infomigrants)

“You’re over your limit, which one goes overboard?”

“Mamaguevo!” someone shouts

Maria surrenders one case

“It is light,” she cries

She empties it into the foaming sea

Off the shoulder sleeve blouses,

Flowered head-wreaths ruffle with the waves

Photos of salsa dancers,

Rainbow-dressed children licking ice cream,

A buoyant bride in ivory silk

Hugging papa in his tuxedo

A smoking pipe in his crumpled mouth

Flor de Mayo

Memorial faces in vintage posture

And a rosary

Drifting with the equinox sun

Photo: Venezuelan violinist Wuilly Arteaga plays a tune of protest.

Cornmeal dust blowing with the wind

Simón Bolívar

The Liberator

She saves her tri-coloured flag

Venezuela griping her belly

Maria seals her lips

Sapping her neck with patchouli

Pablito like an ornament in his birth blanket

Asleep with his angels

Fallen overboard

Tumbling with the tides

A moment of silence

Photo: Venezuelans turn to desperate measures for water.
(via BMJ)

Only Alejandra sees

The right of asylum

The wrinkles of life

Sags under her eyes

His body disappears

Seagulls levitating in echoing lamentation

Alejandra screams

Her face looks beaten

Glitter is her attire

Everyone is staring

Despondency is contagious

Photo: Venezuelans have streamed into Trinidad by boat.

Everyone thinks they understand

But

Nobody understands

Ana is kneeling

Weeping like a cat giving birth

Her face is covered in her first communion veil

Approaching Los Iros

“Oh Estrella de la mañana,

Estrella del mar,

Ayúdame en este momento de dificultad,

Muéstrame que aquí eres mi Madre y consuélame bajo tu divino manto.”

Photo: Migrants swim desperately towards the shore.
(via Infomigrants)

It is time

They’re coming for her.

Editor’s Note: Anna Levi served as a migrant specialist for UWI-PADF project on the legal and social situation of Venezuelan migrants in Trinidad and Tobago.

About Anna Levi

Anna Levi
Anna Levi is a novelist who served as a migrant specialist for UWI-PADF project on the legal and social situation of Venezuelan migrants in Trinidad and Tobago.

Check Also

Demming: T&T can benefit by setting aside xenophobia and using systematic integration

Why would a person willingly give up their family, job and community to embark on …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 comments

  1. Another strong, eloquent statement from the author on the human toll paid by refugees. The whole poem is like a gut punch but one you receive willingly because of the combined truth and beauty… not sure why but the line i cannot get out of my head is about the fisherman boat operators with “Fish scales falling from their beards”… thank you, Anna, and keep on testifying…

  2. Thank you for you plight and commitment towards or boarder neighbours, they try their best in many aspects only to survive, even doing the unthinkable, their hearts are bigger than many others, and even tho we know we can’t accommodate them all, atleast we can share our hearts to them

  3. Anna Levi….
    Looking forward to your asylum efforts for Haitians, Dominicans and other islands where the population is predominantly BLACK SKINNED AFRICANS!

    • Let’s not make it as simple as race, international law provides for refugee protections. It must however be said that TT although it signed onto such treaties never enacted them through an act of parliament, without a refugee law they are all basically illegals. So what does that mean? I interpret it as follows, in principle we agree with such protections, in practice however we cannot provide such a service without limitations because we have a small country and small means.

      Now we find ourselves confronted with the consequences of US superpower politics on our doorstep. Insane nations wanting to tell another country who their President is, all under the pretense of human rights, no it has nothing to do with the fact that Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the entire world how could anybody even get that idea (sarcasm). Why is our region being flooded with illegal guns made in the USA?
      The USA needs to stop it’s sick obsession with Venezuela, a country that never did them nothing. The USA needs to see a psychiatrist to get rid of it’s addiction to war. If the USA can pick Venezuelas President then maybe a couple years from now they will want to pick who is the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados etc. We must never support or encourage superpower power plays.

    • Why are you looking forward to the author’s asylum efforts for Haitians, Dominicans and other islands where the population is predominantly BLACK SKINNED AFRICANS?

      Is it that you feel that the author is biased in her choice of subject which focuses on a situation that affects Trinidad & Tobago?