HomeNewsBrief8 Killed in Massacre on Colombia-Venezuela Border
BRIEF

8 Killed in Massacre on Colombia-Venezuela Border

COLOMBIA / 11 NOV 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A reported clash between criminal groups the Rastrojos and the Urabeños left eight dead along the Colombia-Venezuela border, which, if true, would suggest that the power struggle between these two organizations in this strategic region remains intense.

On November 10, the Colombian ambassador to Venezuela, Luis Eladio Perez, confirmed that eight people were massacred in the Venezuelan border state of Zulia over the weekend, reported Blu Radio. Initial reports were mixed regarding the number of people of killed,  as well as the identities of the perpetrators and the victims. 

According to Venezuela’s La Nacion, an unidentified source linked to the investigation into the massacre said that those killed were members of the Rastrojos, and that the perpetrators were the Urabeños. Police in the Venezuelan state of Tachira said a Rastrojos commander and his deputy were among the victims, reported La Nacion. 

Police separately told media off the record that the victims were thought to be members of the Aguilas Negras — another Colombian criminal group — or the Rastrojos, who worked extorting farmers in the region, reported El Pais.

Blu Radio reported that Venezuelan authorities were still working to establish whether the victims and perpetrators were members of these criminal groups. 

According to El Pais, six of the victims displayed signs of torture and multiple bullet wounds. Meanwhile, two cadavers found nearby had been beheaded. 

Five of the victims have been identified as Colombian nationals, reported El Tiempo.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the sequence of events surrounding the massacre remains unclear, it wouldn’t be the first time that Colombian criminal groups have clashed along the Venezuelan frontier. Both the Rastrojos and the Urabeños are known to have a significant presence in the Venezuela border region, and have been disputing the territory for several years. At one point, the Rastrojos was the most powerful BACRIM (from the Spanish acronym for “criminal bands”) in the region, but the group has been in decline since their top leadership was captured in 2012. The Urabeños, meanwhile, has established a significant power base in the border area, setting up training camps in Venezuela and allegedly recruiting Venezuelan nationals into its ranks.

SEE ALSO: BACRIM in Venezuela Profile

BACRIM groups are known to operate in Venezuelan border states including Zulia, Apure, and Tachira — where another BACRIM-attributed massacre took place earlier this year. The border region is highly strategic for drug traffickers looking to control routes through Venezuela — the main transit hub for Colombian cocaine — as well as for contraband runners.   

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America's largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ECUADOR / 25 MAR 2011

According to a new cable released by WikiLeaks via El Espectador, the government of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe planned to…

COLOMBIA / 28 NOV 2011

More than 90 percent of those who are arrested in Bogota, Colombia, avoid prison sentences due to a system…

COLOMBIA / 14 MAY 2014

Fighting between guerrillas and narco-paramilitaries has displaced thousands in west Colombia, with heavy combat that may carry echoes of politically…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…