They Don’t Speak Spanish But Were Issued Venezuelan Passports, Colombia Claims

They Don’t Speak Spanish But Were Issued Venezuelan Passports, Colombia Claims

By Jaime Moreno / Voice of America
December 17, 2019

Among the biggest difficulties Venezuelan immigrants face is the lack of passports. The Colombian government, however, has detected with concern people who transit identifying themselves with legitimate Venezuelan passports, but who don’t even know what the capital of Venezuela is.

In an interview with Venezuela 360, Christian Krugüer, director of Colombia Migration, warned that the trend might pose a risk to global security. “We see people from Venezuela who don’t have passports, but we find [people of] other nationalities carrying Venezuelan passports, who don’t even speak Spanish or know the capital of Venezuela.”

Colombian authorities are unaware of the intentions of the Nicolás Maduro regime or the criteria it uses to grant passports to foreigners, but do not hesitate to warn the international community about it.

“It’s a huge risk, not just for Colombia’s security, but for the security of the world. I’m talking from a terrorism viewpoint,” said the director of Colombia Migration.

Another issue Colombian authorities are dealing with is espionage from agents of the disputed Maduro government.

“Early this year [2019] we removed some 10 individuals from Cúcuta for espionage. This is a tool dictatorships use to see what’s happening in other countries,” added the official. Krugüer also warned about the risks to security as a result of the Venezuelan crisis, and said the exodus remains at very high levels, affecting the capacity of the Colombian government to respond, especially with healthcare.

The Colombian government also noted an increase in a phenomenon known as circular migration, whereby people who live in Venezuela cross into Colombia daily in search of medical attention, education, or food, and then return to their home country at night.

It’s estimated that some 45,000 people cross the border daily. Of those, 2,000 remain in Colombia permanently, 2,000 continue on to other countries, and 41,000 return to Venezuela.

“Among those who go in and out, many arrive with needs; they come to Colombia to eat, to get medical services, to buy products and then return,” said the director of Colombia Migration, adding that the migration phenomenon can no longer be seen in terms of the 1.5 million immigrants who reside permanently in Colombia.

According to the official, circular migration represents a large tax burden to border cities.

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