Lankan man stranded for 3 months

A Sri Lankan man has been trapped for three months at the Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela; there is confusion about where he came from and it has not been possible to find a destination where to send him.

The news about the trapped traveler, whose identity has not been specified, was made public by the Argentinian band “Los Pericos” through a video posted in their Video-blog, reports (in Spanish). According to El Universal (in Spanish), a Maiquetia airport representative confirmed that there is man who has been living at the airport for the past three months because he lacks the required documentation.

The Venezuelan immigration authorities are not clear about the Sri Lankan man’s origin. At first it was reported that the visitor would have arrived to the Simon Bolivar Maiquetia International Airport from Damascus, Syria. However, Manuel Gago, representative of Amnesty International (AI) in Venezuela, maintains that the Asian man arrived in Caracas from Mexico where he was embarked by mistake on a flight to Venezuela.

So far it has not been possible to establish a possible destination for the Sri Lankan man. Gago said Venezuela will not allow him beyond the airport terminal without a visa. He cannot be sent back to Mexico because an international agreement prevents it. He cannot be attended by the diplomatic representatives of his own country because Sri Lanka does not have consular representation in Venezuela. It is not possible to send him to his country because there are no direct flights between Venezuela and Sri Lanka, and a country allowing him as a transit passenger has not been found.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that the citizen of Sri Lanka does not speak Spanish and his English proficiency is very limited. However, he has been able to suggest that his life is in danger if he is returned to his country, where, according to Amnesty International, there is a political conflict involving “gross and systematic human rights violations.”

The case has been compared to that shown by Steven Spielberg in his film “The Terminal” starring Tom Hanks, about Viktor Navorski, a man trapped at New York’s J. F. K. International Airport who is denied entry in the United States and cannot return to Krakozhia, his fictitious native country, due to a revolution. (