Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

By Hector Pereira |

Caracas/Bogota (EFE).- The surveillance that Colombia and Venezuela carry out along their 2,219 km common border is set to transform amid the reestablishment of bilateral relations, which will mean a new security regime for the border region, which has been plagued by terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling. .

The desire of Venezuela’s and Colombia’s presidents, Nicolás Maduro and Gustavo Petro, respectively, to resume military and judicial cooperation brings with it a joint effort to eliminate or, at least, mitigate the bilateral trauma that each country refers to as imported.

For Maduro’s part, so far this year, so-called “Colombian armed terrorists and drug traffickers” (“Tancols”) have 57 illegal landing strips and the same number of drug laboratories discovered and bombed in states such as Apure and Julia. .

Meanwhile, in the Petro Trench, authorities are fighting the Venezuelan criminal mega-gang “El Tren de Aragua”, which seeks revenge for controlling territory in Bogotá for petty drug trafficking and whose activities include a wide illegal spectrum in Colombia and other Latin American countries.

A Colombian policeman works to protect people crossing the border between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta (Colombia). EFE / Mario Caicedo

Guerrillas and drugs

The Colombian administration has for years accused the so-called Bolivarian revolution of being a sanctuary for guerrillas, who have received state protection and acquiescence across the border, or so the last three new Granadan leaders have insisted.

Now, with Petro’s unprecedented leftist victory, the focus on this issue will be – as the president commented – jointly, to the point that Venezuela agreed last week to be the guarantor of a new dialogue process with the ELN guerrillas, or even none. A date has been set for the start of peace talks.

The announcement breaks the ban that Chavismo has maintained on the matter, since it has been months without receiving numerous complaints from Colombian authorities, according to which some guerrillas were killed in the oil country.

But there is also one issue where Venezuela carries a voice of condemnation: drug trafficking. Virtually every day, the military and police report seizures of narcotics belonging to “Tancol,” who are responsible for moving more than 30 tons of illegal substances this year alone.

“Venezuela does not produce or consume drugs”, a statement forced by Chavismo on its neighbor, the “world leader” who wants to sell drugs through the northern region of South America.

People transit the border area between Colombia and Venezuela at Cucuta (Colombia). EFE / Mario Caicedo

hot zone

Precisely to combat these crimes, the Venezuelan state initiated a crusade in January that knows no ideology in the state of Apure, where clashes continue between the military and Colombian groups outside the law, with less intensity, including dissidents from the demobilized FARC guerrillas. .

According to the latest Venezuelan assessment (published in March), the fire has “neutralized” six terrorists, while the number of displaced people in Colombia exceeds 6,000, according to estimates by humanitarian agencies.

In addition, another 6,155 were imprisoned in Venezuela, including an undetermined number of Colombians.

In any case, Apure has become the focus of binational security and defense disputes, especially after the historic discovery of anti-personnel mines in the plains this year, which Venezuela also blames on “Tancol”.

Colombia, on the other hand, detains thousands of Venezuelans who, although they represent less than 2% of the prison population, commit “terrible” contract killings, a problem that Bogotá Mayor Claudia López has condemned on several occasions.

A group of people make an illegal crossing at the Cucuta (Colombia) border between Colombia and Venezuela. EFE / Mario Caicedo

But crimes committed by Venezuelans, according to official data, have been recorded in 30 of Colombia’s 32 departments, so authorities hope to take the opportunity to reestablish ties to attack gangs that run extortion networks from prisons in the Caribbean country. , drug trafficking and human trafficking.

This last reality has attracted the attention of Venezuelan judges in recent months, when the prosecutor’s office has begun to inform about numerous cases of people detained for these events, which are related to immigration that displaced about 7 million people in the last five years.

These countries will also face old ghosts, among which stands the smuggling of petrol, which is much cheaper in Venezuela, which has always been a breeding ground for smugglers, including agents of the two countries’ public forces that guard the border.

Historians cannot forget the indigenous population in their security plans, who mostly live in these border areas and have experienced a different impact of conflict and breakdown of relations.

Web Editing: Sebastian Bayona

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