They gave me a message for my mother, to tell her that she was a traitor to her country and that she should come back to go to jail, Villalonga said.
Then one of the men hit him on the forehead with the butt of his gun and he fell bleeding.
But I was strong and could stop the bleeding and call my aunt, who took me to the hospital, he said.
He was given seven stitches on the right side of his forehead. After that, he stayed in the house. He left his job as an assistant mechanic in his uncles shop and stopped visiting relatives, fearing that he would put their lives in jeopardy.
In Miami, Helene Villalonga finally convinced immigration authorities that her sons life was at risk if he stayed in Venezuela, and persuaded Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen to request that his case be expedited.
I was not going to give up or stay quiet, Helene said. And I hope that my case can serve as an example to other families.
In 2011, Villalonga returned to South Florida to reunite with his mother, his father Gregorio Correa, and younger siblings Gregorio, Jesús, Luis, and Rossie. During an interview at Miami International Airport, the immigration agent who checked Villalongas entry documents asked him to show him the scars of the beating.
He then said: Welcome home, Villalonga said. Before that moment I was still scared because I feared they could still send me back again.
Villalonga who is trying to overcome the trauma of prison and the harassment he endured in Venezuela wants to return to school. Having permanent-resident status gives him peace of mind, he said. Only a person deprived of his freedom, especially without committing a crime, can understand what it feels like, Villalonga said. At last I feel that I belong somewhere, that I should not have fear of being detained, that I no longer live in limbo.