Colombia reinforced the police and military presence on the trails of the border with Venezuela, due to the “alarming situation” that the department of Norte de Santander is experiencing due to the increase in the number of people who have entered the country in recent days in full COVID-19 pandemic.
“The idea is that now with this request made by the departmental government, we are going to work in coordination with the Police to reinforce border crossings“, said the commander of the Second Army Division, General Marcos Pinto, to journalists.
Stop the Venezuelan step
Meanwhile, General Ramiro Castrillón, commander of Region Number 5 of the Police and officer in charge of the area, stated that there are “some places where many of the Venezuelans transit pendularly and the control that will be reinforced is to prevent people from continuing to pass irregularly into the territory of Colombia. “
From five in the morning the operation began with more than 200 men assigned to the control of the trailssaid the police chief.
On September 30, Migración Colombia extended until next November 1 the closure of all borders land, sea and river in the country to contain the expansion of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the sanitary restrictions Due to COVID-19, hundreds of Venezuelans try to return to their country daily and others are looking for a way to leave for Colombia in the face of the deterioration of the situation in the Caribbean nation.
Very complex problem
In that sense, the secretary of Government of Norte de SantanderJuan Felipe Corzo said that what the authorities are looking for is to guarantee that “effective control is made on the trails and we can reduce this problem that has been occurring in recent days.”
The Secretary of Borders and International Cooperation of Norte de Santander, Víctor Bautista, stated that what happens at the borders, especially on the trails near Simón Bolívar international bridge, which links the Colombian city of Cúcuta with the Venezuelan city of San Antonio del Táchira, is complex.
As an example of this, he cited what is happening in Pamplona, a city about 70 kilometers from Cúcuta, where there is “an agglomeration of migrants who have entered Colombia irregularly, in the midst of the restriction we have due to COVID-19 and with humanitarian needs for which the department is not yet prepared because the border remains closed. “
Therefore, he asked the authorities of the Venezuelan state of Táchira to inform the public that “there is no authorized crossing of Venezuelan migrants to Colombia and the inconvenience of moving to the border given the current humanitarian and health issues. “
The reduction to a few hundred the number of Venezuelans who can pass daily through the Simón Bolívar bridge, where thousands previously circulated, has caused an accumulation on the Colombian side of people anxious to return to the Caribbean country.
With the reactivation of road transport in Colombia after a quarantine For more than five months due to the coronavirus, the flow of Venezuelans who try to return to their country increased and are left stranded in Cúcuta waiting to be allowed to cross the border.
According to the authorities of Norte de Santander, migrants who arrive in Cúcuta are treated in a camp installed at the Tienditas International Bridge by the regional government and international organizations, as well as by missionaries of the Scalabrinian order who are overwhelmed by the increased flow of people.
Migration Colombia indicates that, as of July 30, the country had 1.7 million Venezuelans, of which 195,079 are based in Norte de Santander.