Security of Colombia and Venezuela, the hot side of the border idyll

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Hector Pereira |

Caracas/Bogota (EFE).- The surveillance that Colombia and Venezuela have on their 2,219-kilometre shared border is about to be changed in the midst of a re-establishment of bilateral relations, implying a new approach to security in this border area where terrorism is present, drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling.

The desire of the presidents of Venezuela and Colombia, Nicolás Maduro and Gustavo Petro, respectively, to resume military and judicial cooperation entails a concerted effort to eradicate or at least mitigate the bilateral disasters that each country considers to be introduced.

As far as Maduro is concerned, so-called “Colombian armed terrorists and drug traffickers” (“tancol”) opened and blew up 57 illegal airstrips and an equal number of drug laboratories this year in states such as Apure and Zulia. .

Meanwhile, in the Petro Trench, the authorities are fighting the Venezuelan criminal mega-gang El Tren de Aragua, who are waging vendettas in Bogotá for control of drug micro-trafficking areas and whose activities include a wide illegal spectrum in Colombia and other Latin American countries.

A Colombian police officer ensures the safety of 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 safe haven for guerrillas who have found state protection and consent across the border, at least that’s what the last three leaders of New Granada have emphasized.

Now, with Peter’s unprecedented left-wing victory, attention to the issue will, as the president noted, be shared, to the point that Venezuela last week agreed to become a guarantor in a new dialogue process with the ELN guerrillas, without even setting a date for the start of peace talks.

The announcement breaks a taboo that Chavismo maintains on the issue, since for several months now numerous accusations from the Colombian authorities that several guerrillas were killed in the oil country have not been taken into account.

But there is also an issue where Venezuela has a voice of condemnation: drug trafficking. On an almost daily basis, the military and police report seizures of drugs belonging to tankers, who this year alone have been charged with moving more than 30 tons of illegal substances.

“Venezuela does not produce or consume drugs” is a statement summarizing the blame that Chavismo insistently places on his neighbor, a “world leader”, who intends to sell drugs through the northernmost territory of South America.

Transit of people in the border area between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta (Colombia). EFE / Mario Caicedo

hot zone

It is to combat these crimes that the Venezuelan state launched an ideologyless crusade in January in the state of Apure, where clashes continue, albeit less intense, between the military and outlawed Colombian groups, including dissidents from the demobilized FARC guerrillas. .

Venezuela’s latest assessment (published in March) says the fire has neutralized six “terrorists” and the number of people displaced to Colombia, according to humanitarian estimates, is over 6,000.

There were also 6,155 other people imprisoned in Venezuela, including an unspecified number of Colombians.

In any case, Apure has become the epicenter of inter-ethnic disputes in the field of security and defense, especially after the historic discovery this year of anti-personnel mines in this region of the plains, which Venezuela also attributes to “tancol”.

On the other hand, Colombia has detained thousands of Venezuelans who, although less than 2% of its prisoners, commit “dismal” contract killings, an issue that Bogotá’s mayor Claudia Lopez has repeatedly denounced.

A group of people cross an illegal trail on the Colombian-Venezuela border in Cucuta, Colombia. EFE / Mario Caicedo

But crimes committed by Venezuelans are reportedly recorded in 30 of Colombia’s 32 departments, so the authorities hope to use the restoration of relations to attack gangs that operate extortion networks from prisons in the Caribbean country. , drug trafficking and human trafficking.

This latest reality has caught the attention of the Venezuelan justice system in recent months, when prosecutors began to notify numerous cases of people detained over these events related to migration, which has displaced almost seven million people over the past five years.

These countries will also face the old ghosts, among which is the smuggling of gasoline, which is much cheaper in Venezuela, which has always been a breeding ground for smugglers, including agents of the state forces of the two nations who guard the border.

The historical brethren will not be able to forget in their security plan the indigenous people who inhabit mainly some of these frontier areas and who have experienced the differential impact of clashes and severance of relations.

Web Editing: Sebastian Baiona

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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