Passengers stranded in Brazil: “We have been completely abandoned” | TAP

64-year-old Manuel de Castro traveled to Brazil to enjoy his family vacation and will be staying more than a month longer than planned. You risk losing your job. Three friends of dentists went to São Paulo for work and are kept – one has no one to run his office. Tatiane Vieira, who describes herself as a “desperate mother”, “has to return urgently” because the children have follow-up appointments – and her job, which she is afraid of losing.

The Portuguese and Brazilians held back in Brazil; Portuguese and Brazilians stay in Portugal. After the suspension of flights was extended until at least March 1, hundreds of people will be affected by the border closure and will not be able to return to the country where they live.

With the prospect of the Portuguese government running a humanitarian flight from Brazil to Portugal, the PUBLIC reported this Monday that several stories have been received in the past 24 hours of Portuguese and Brazilians waiting to know when to return Portugal. There are people who ask, “I need help urgently”.

What is certain is that the situation led to the launch of an online petition to the Portuguese Government – Return of Portuguese Citizens and Residents of Portugal Abroad – which received almost 770 signatures that Tuesday afternoon.

In one of the emails sent to PÚBLICO, Elaine Andrade, who went to Brazil because of “family problems” and “cannot return to work and home” commented: “I have to join the petition to strengthen that voice and have more opportunities to have the return “.

The suspension of flights between Portugal and Brazil came into effect on January 29th, lasted until February 14th, but was extended to March 1st. The same was true for air travel between Portugal and the United Kingdom.

When asked whether he was considering a return flight, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE) told PUBLIC on Monday that it was gathering important information about the emergency situations of “non-resident Portuguese” that “justify humanitarian flight”. That Tuesday morning, the MNE said it had nothing to add. He did not reply whether there was already a planned or estimated date for the flight from Brazil to Portugal; How many flights will be organized if Brazilians residing in Portugal can also take part in those flights? Nor did she give an answer on what the government plans to do in cases where the Portuguese are without financial support and in a difficult economic situation. There is no answer to how many Portuguese are being held in Brazil.

The Brazilian consulate in Portugal told the PUBLIC that there is no provision for repatriation in the opposite direction and advised Brazilian citizens to look for alternative routes.

Passengers criticize the government

The stories are repeated with different dramas.

Eliane Vilas Boas and two other dentists (Bruna Esteves and Ana Silva) who went to São Paulo for professional training complain that they have been “completely abandoned” by our authorities. “We couldn’t get any help from the consulate” or TAP. “Nothing! In response, we ourselves received an automatic e-mail relating to the purchase of a flight. It is inhuman. I have my children and my husband in Portugal, I have my older parents who need me. I have mine Clinic without a doctor to support my patients, “he enumerates.” Not to mention the fact that I can go bankrupt! “And he criticizes:” The greatest mission of a government and an ambassador is to defend and defend its citizens protect. Where is this mission when we need it? ”

The criticism of the government continues. Manuel de Castro had planned to return from vacation in January, but he tested positive for covid-19, had to wait and when he was about to take a flight back it was too late. You will be spending more than a month off-schedule in Brazil. “In this situation, I run the risk of losing my job and what will I live on if I am not responsible for this situation?” You cannot spend money on alternative flights as recommended by the Portuguese consulate. It appeals: “I urgently need help”.

Paulo Abrantes, also Portuguese, turned to the Portuguese consulate in São Paulo, which recommended “making a flight with a stopover”. With his return, scheduled for January 31st and postponed until February 17th and then “alleged March 7th”, Paulo Abrantes accuses the consulate of “being neither helpful nor interested in the situation of the Portuguese imprisoned here.” to become”. “Fortunately, I’m in a comfortable situation where I don’t pay for housing and can work remotely,” he comments. If necessary, however, this would be “an extremely demotivating factor”.

The alternative for these passengers would be to take flights to other countries, but not all have the financial capacity to do so. Refunds from companies like TAP take months, several passengers complain – the company doesn’t reply to the PUBLIC about how long they actually take the refunds; says you can reschedule flights or request a voucher instead.