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Uproar over uptick of Venezuelans at Colombian border

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

FILE PHOTO – A Colombian police officer and a migration officer stand in front of people who are attempting to cross into Colombia from Venezuela through Simon Bolivar international bridge, at Cucuta, Colombia, July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Luis Parada

On Monday, shoving matches broke out at a protest in the border town of Cucuta between Colombians who were out demonstrating the approximately 615 Venezuelans living in their area.

Demonstrators came out to demand the Venezuelans camping out in what’s come to be called “Hotel Caracas” be removed.

Cucuta Mayor, Cesar Omar Rojas, arrived on the scene to ask for two days for a “progressive dislocation” of those Venezuelans who don’t have the proper documentation.

“Whoever is undocumented has to leave the country. Whoever is here legally, with a passport, we will all look for a way for them to be transferred to another part of the country,” said the mayor. 

Among other complaints, the local Colombians are saying the Venezuelans are taking care of their bathroom needs in public areas including a local sporting complex.

“It’s not against all Venezuelans. It’s against the Venezuelans who come to the country to do harm,” said Fernando Roso, a Colombian demonstrator.

The Colombian-Venezuelan border has for years been rife with smuggling and other tensions due to massive price differentials stemming from Venezuela’s state controls. — Reuters


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Inmates at Venezuela detention center revolt

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) stand guard next to a banner with the images of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, outside a detention center, where a riot occurred, according to relatives, in Caracas, Venezuela May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Inmates at a crowded detention center in Caracas, Venezuela revolted on Wednesday.

Alongside the incident, jailed opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and a Mormon missionary from Utah were begging for freedom and medical attention in postings on social media.

There was no official information on the incident but in videos posted on social media, men identifying themselves as prisoners said they had taken over the intelligence agency Sebin also known as Helicoide.

Tn a tweet, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said they have already sent representatives to the facility who spoke to a representative of the prisoners to respond to their requests. — Reuters

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Colombia vows to help Venezuelans fleeing economic devastation, but tightens border control

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will tighten border controls with Venezuela and provide extra aid as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flee an economic crisis, even while his country already spends millions of dollars to support the migrants.

Even while his country already spends millions of dollars to support the migrants.

“I urge you to allow us Colombians to help, to help the whole international community, to help Venezuelans not to suffer, at least, because of hunger and lack of medicine,” said the Colombian president.

Santos said he would put in place stricter migratory controls along the Venezuelan border, temporarily suspending new daily entry cards for Venezuelans, and deploy 3,000 new security personnel, including 2,120 more soldiers, along with the shared frontier.

Santos warned that he would not tolerate a crime committed by migrants and would prosecute any unlawful behavior.

He will create a new registry of Venezuelans already in Colombia — to better gauge the number of migrants in the country — and open a center with the help of the United Nations to provide aid.

“We urgently need humanitarian aid, hopefully, that the government will accept, the humanitarian aid that they are proposing to him from other countries, especial Colombia that has given us a point of support and has been consistent with us, the Venezuelans, but not with the government,” said Venezuela President Jose Sanchez.

Colombia estimated that it costs $5 per day to supply each Venezuelan migrant with food and lodging. The government did not provide figures on how many migrants it was supporting.

About 1.3 million Venezuelans have registered for the special migration card that allows them to cross the border by day to buy food and other products that are scarce in their own country. No more will be issued, for now, Santos said. — Reuters


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Supermarket shelves nearly empty after Maduro price cuts, mobs

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 12th, 2018

Supermarket shelves in Caracas were nearly empty on Wednesday (January 10) after a run on the stores following recent government-ordered price cuts.

Over the weekend, the leftist administration of President Nicolas Maduro ordered more than 200 supermarkets to cut prices back to last month’s levels.

The order caused chaos as desperate Venezuelans leaped at the chance to buy cheaper food as the country’s worsening economy causes severe shortages.

Shoppers cleared out the shelves and the food supplies have not been replaced. Many expressed frustration and concern.

“This seems critical to me because honestly, we are going through a very serious crisis right now. I don’t know what to do because I can’t get anything basic,” said Luis Gamboa, a shopper.

Lootings and scattered street protests hit the once industrial city of Guayana as unrest grows due to food shortages and a Malaria outbreak.

“With everything, it takes to have anything and for it to be gone in five minutes. I just kept thinking the worst. For you to end up like this, with nothing. It’s horrible to be living with this,” said Juana Castilla, owner of a store.

Critics said Maduro is playing with fire in the oil-rich nation, where millions are unable to eat three square meals a day and malnutrition is on the rise, saying his policy will dissuade supermarkets from stocking their shelves and could trigger looting. — Reuters



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