HomeNewsBriefCooperation Up Ahead of Expected Reopening of Colombia-Venezuela Border
BRIEF

Cooperation Up Ahead of Expected Reopening of Colombia-Venezuela Border

COLOMBIA / 10 AUG 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Officials from Colombia and Venezuela forged ahead with new bilateral mechanisms targeting transnational organized crime and prepared to reopen their border after months of closure that has benefited criminal groups.

Officials from both sides of the frontier met this week at Venezuela's border post in San Antonio, Táchira, to discuss bilateral cooperation on border security issues, reported Semana. The bilateral cooperation represents an improvement of uneasy relations between the two countries that saw Venezuela close its border with Colombia in August 2015.

Representatives from both nations' Security, Defense, and Foreign Affairs ministries attended the meeting alongside diplomats and politicians. Participants highlighted operation of a new bilateral cooperation center that will coordinate action to improve citizen security and fight transnational organized crime that operates in the border region.

José Gregoria Vielma Mora, governor of the Venezuelan state of Táchira, said that border smuggling was fed by drug traffic and that intelligence sharing will be used to target, find and destroy criminal elements. William Villiamizar, governor of Colombia's neighboring Norte de Santander department, said he hoped the border would soon be reopened "with conditions of security, control of contraband and harmony in migration and the possibility of stable trade relations," reported El Nacional.

The border was closed almost a year ago on the order of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who cited threats from Colombian paramilitaries and drug traffickers.

Venezuela representatives proposed the creation of a special "customs regime" allowing free, two-way commerce in basic goods, most of which are currently in critically short supply in Venezuela. The proposed changes would start in the Venezuelan border state of Táchira, and then be expanded to the states of Zulia, Amazonas, and Apure. Additionally, the foreign ministers of both nations have agreed to create a special "frontier" identification card for Colombian and Venezuelans who live in the border region, reported Semana.

16-08-10ColombiaVenezuelaBorder

Insight Crime Analysis

The past months of border closure have been highly profitable for criminal groups, who have presided over unprecedented control of the contraband market in the border region.

Criminal groups known in Colombia as Bandas Criminales, or BACRIM, including the Urabeños and Rastrojos, have benefited greatly from the control of informal crossings that have gained importance as a result of the border closure. But many illegal actors are active in the region. Corrupt border officials have also reaped financial benefits.

    SEE MORE: Coverage of Contraband

These bilateral talks also come amidst reports of an increased presence of Colombian rebels of the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación - ELN) across the border in Venezuela, particularly in the states of Táchira and Apure, as reported by El Colombiano.

Just as closure of the border altered the criminal landscape on the frontier, the expected opening will bring new modes of operation for a variety of criminal groups. Any binational cooperation in countering transnational organized crime should help manage the risks of violence associated with those changes in this remote and troubled region.

share icon icon icon

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

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

ARGENTINA / 7 MAY 2021

The cat-and-mouse game of evading law enforcement was taken literally by drug smugglers recently in Panama, who hid cocaine on…

CARACHO / 22 DEC 2011

Colombian drug gang ERPAC is set to demobilize, which could leave a dangerous power vacuum in their territories in eastern…

COLOMBIA / 15 MAY 2012

A report on child recruitment by Colombia's criminal groups draws attention to the prevalence of the tactic across the region,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.