At least 63,000 Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia over the two bridges that connect Tachira state to the neighbouring country over the past 36 hours. While the final two-day tally is not yet known, the head of the Colombian immigration service, Christian Kruger, estimates that the total might reach 75,000 for Saturday and Sunday.
Today’s crossing marks the third time this week that the Tachira/Colombia border has been opened. After ordering the border closed in August of last year, the Venezuelan government ordered it re-opened only in Tachira state last Sunday, and then yesterday and today.
Today’s crossing appears to have gone relatively smoothly. However, El Nacional reports that a group of government supporters at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge showed up in the early afternoon and started insulting the people waiting to enter Colombia. Below, a video of that event, with the government supporters in red on the right side of the screen:
The event appears to have been isolated. It did not escalate beyond the government supporters’ insults.
The video below shows Colombian Military Police officers welcoming Venezuelans into Cucuta by saying, “Good morning! Welcome!”:
Below, more images from today’s crossing.
The image below shows the Simon Bolivar International Bridge filled to capacity with eager shoppers:
La Patilla spoke to a woman in line named Elizabeth Perez. The 47-year-old public servant from Caracas traveled to Tachira with the goal of entering Colombia to buy food. Perez said:
I’m coming to buy the things I can’t find: rice, beans, lentils, sugar, and toilet paper. I came here two days ago with a group of people to try to get into Colombia today. We’re eating only once a day.
MUD: Cucuta Exodus Reflective of Crisis
MUD figures responded to the overwhelming turnout at the Tachira border crossings this weekend to stress that the crisis Venezuela is living through is real.
National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup said on his Twitter account:
The regime and those that support it ignore the human river crossing into Colombia in search of food.
National Assembly deputy from Tachira Gaby Arellano also tweeted on the event, saying:
Thousands of Venezuelans who are #ImprisonedByHunger once again cross the border to buy food and medicine.
MUD Deputy Claims He Was Threatened
National Assembly MUD deputy Luis Florido announced today that someone left flowers on his car this morning. Just yesterday, Florido’s bodyguard, Yormi Moreno, was murdered. Florido believes that the two events are connected.
Below, a picture of the flowers on Florido’s car:
Florido, who is the president of the National Assembly’s External Politics Commission, said that the threat would not affect his “struggle for political change in 2016”.
Chavez’s Brother Dies
Anibal Chavez, Hugo Chavez’s brother, has died. Anibal was the mayor of the Alberto Arvelo Torrealba municipality in Barinas state.
Anibal was interned at the Caracas Military Hospital, after an unknown condition caused him to seek medical attention on Friday night. It is not known at this moment what caused his death.
A message from the Venezuelan government announcing his death partially reads:
The Bolivarian government of Venezuela recognizes that Anibal Chavez was a distinguished fighter, man of the people and steward of noble causes, and that he knew how to align his works with the ideals of the father of the homeland Simon Bolivar and those of our Supreme Commander Hugo Chavez.
Rodriguez: Venezuela Not Isolated
Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez spoke in a televised interview today on the state of Venezuela’s diplomatic relations, and said that the country is not isolated.
Rodriguez made the comments on Televen’s Jose Vicente Hoy. When asked if Venezuela was isolated in the international community, Rodriguez said:
No. When Venezuela goes out into the world to different international events, Venezuela’s voice isn’t only her own. It’s the voice of many peoples around the world who think as Venezuela does, who wish they could have a revolution like the one that we have in Venezuelan and absolutely identify [with Venezuela].
When asked about the incessant criticism that she faces from opposition figures and people on social media, Rodriguez said:
I see it as classist attacks; a lot of it is racist, and that’s what I see on social media (…) I’m at ease and none of that affects me because we’re in the right. We’re on the right side of history and politically. We have a revolutionary moral that is intact so we can defend our country from any kind of foreign intervention.
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