Murder of Venezuelan Immigrant Teens

New cases of violence have heightened tensions between Colombia and Venezuela just days after the reopening of the land border between the two countries, closed since 2019. Last weekend, two Venezuelan teenagers were murdered in the border town of Tibú, Norte de Santander, Colombia.

The two young men, aged 12 and 15, were accused of stealing products from a warehouse in the city, were arrested by civilians and publicly lynched. Videos posted on social networks they show the two Venezuelans with their hands tied, being insulted by “thieves”.

In the same video, it is possible to hear a Colombian say that he would hand the two of them over to the police so that “they do not appear dead by the way”.

You authors of the video reported in a record that circulates through social networks who called the police more than once, who never came to the scene. Without the presence of the authorities, the teenagers were taken by two armed men on a motorcycle and shot to the head on a road that connects Tibú to the Colombian municipality of El Tarra.

The Venezuelan Public Ministry demanded that Colombian authorities investigate the case and guarantee protection for Venezuelan immigrants.

According to the Colombian NGO Consultancy for Human Rights and the Displaced (Codhes), between January and August 2021, 362 Venezuelans were murdered in Colombia. In the past five years, the total figure is 1,933 Venezuelans killed in Colombian territory — most cases remain unresolved.

The most violent states are Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca, Atlántico and Antioquia, according to the NGO. The municipality of Tibú concentrates around 13% of Colombia’s coca plantations, estimated at 245,000 hectares in 2020.

“The homicide rate for the Venezuelan population is 2.8 times that of the rest of the Colombian population,” declared Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab.

Find out more: Relations between the Venezuelan opposition and Colombian paramilitaries

Colombia’s Public Ministry has stated that it will investigate the case. Colombian President Iván Duque accused FARC dissidences of being responsible for the crime, without providing evidence, and ordered the change of command of the Norte de Santander State Police.

Venezuela announced that it would take the case to the United Nations (UN) and the vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, said that Venezuelan immigrants are “victims of the policy of hatred and persecution of high authorities”.

UN Security Council

In addition to the recent case of murder of the two Venezuelan teenagers, Venezuela had already filed another complaint against the Colombian state at the UN.

Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada sent a letter on Oct. 8 to the president of the UN Security Council denouncing an alleged military destabilization plan prepared by Colombia and the United States. In the document, Moncada offers a timeline with a series of attacks and coup attempts in Venezuela, which were directly related to Colombian characters.

:: What is happening in Venezuela? See full coverage ::

It also states that there was an unauthorized incursion by Colombian aircraft in September this year and another 90 incursions by US aircraft in Venezuelan airspace between 2019 and 2021.

Edition: Thales Schmidt

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