By Lorena Bornacelly
Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.
Hundreds of Venezuelan migrants who are currently in Cucuta, Colombia, waiting to reenter Venezuela, tried to cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, which links both countries through the state of Tachira. According to information from Migration Colombia, by force.
Colombian migration authorities posted a video with shows some 500 such persons trying to cross the border bridge. Heavy rains caused by the Iota hurricane in the Caribbean area flooded informal, illegal border crossings, further putting human and weather pressure on the Simon Bolivar bridge.
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The Nicolas Maduro regime has limited returning Venezuelans to daily groups of 200 to 300 (and no crossings on Sundays) since the Coronavirus outbreak declared in mid-March. The situation has created a bottleneck as Colombia has received almost two million Venezuelan migrants, part of the 5.4 million Venezuelan expatriates.
“The team of Migration Colombia, with the support of the National Police, managed the situation and explained to the group of foreigners that staying on the bridge represented a risk since the weather conditions could cause a disaster. Added, that the infrastructure of the bridge is exposed to additional weight, as a consequence of the containers that are on it,” informed Migration Colombia through a press release.
Empty cargo containers were placed mid-bridge in early 2019 by the Nicolas Maduro regime despite Colombian objections, as a measure to try and stop humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela, which the regime said was just a US-Colombian invasion in disguise.
After the failed crossing attempt and Venezuela’s refusal to allow the entry of the people, they gradually vacated the bridge to wait their turn to return to their homes. Since 5:00 p.m. on November 18, heavy rainfall got registered at the border, which extended into the night.