The governments of both Colombia and Brazil will soon further crack down on Venezuelan migrants, announcing new measures and the deployment of more border troops.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday 3,000 more security personnel — including 2,120 more soldiers — will patrol the country’s border with the Bolivarian nation, in order to control problems he says have been created by Venezuelan migrants.
The president made the decision at a time when U.S. officials from Southern Command military headquarters were visiting Colombia to "discuss security cooperation" and "get a first-hand look at Colombia's peace-building and security efforts".
For his part, Santos warned of inciting xenophobia, before he announced the increased measures, saying, “We must also be generous with Venezuela in these times of difficulty.”
“Venezuela was very generous with Colombia when Colombians sought a better life in Venezuela,” he continued, referring to the millions of Colombians who fled civil war and paramilitary violence and who “were received with open arms” in recent years by Venezuela.
The new measures also include the suspension of new daily entry cards, as well as stricter migratory measures.
Meanwhile Brazil is also doubling its troops at its border with Venezuela, while relocating Venezuelans in the country to areas in the center. Brazil will also tally the number of Venezuelans in its borders through a census, a measure that Colombia will also apply but through a registry.
The measures have come a day after Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza accused Santos of being “submissive” to the United States. Arreaza said Washington works alongside its Latin American allies to create “pain, wars, displaced communities, refugees, extreme poverty, paramilitarism, contraband, drug production, drug trafficking, [and] narcopolitics”.
His comments came after Santos had said the Lima Group — right-wing governments who have previously sought intervention in Venezuela — would not recognize the results of Venezuela’s April 22 elections.
Venezuelan leaders have expressed concern over the decision, accusing the group of plotting to undermine the vote.