HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Border Clash Points to Colombia Spillover Violence
BRIEF

Venezuela Border Clash Points to Colombia Spillover Violence

16 MAY 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Gunmen, claiming they were seeking to oust the Colombian drug cartel of the Rastrojos, carried out an attack in a Venezuelan border state, another sign that the war between the Rastrojos and their rivals has spilled over the border.

The group of 15 gunmen entered a bar in the rural hamlet of Los Cocos, in the Venezuelan state of Tachira, and opened fire, leaving two people dead, reports El Nacional. They painted graffiti on the walls, identifying themselves as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a disbanded Colombian paramilitary organization. The graffiti messages demanded that criminal group the Rastrojos leave the area. Similar messages have reportedly been seen in other Venezuelan villages in Tachira, according to El Nacional’s report.

InSight Crime Analysis

Firefights between rival criminal groups, many of them claiming the name of Colombian paramilitary organizations like the AUC and the Aguilas Negras, have been reported in Tachira since last year. In January, a reported clash between the Rastrojos and their primary rival, the Urabeños, left four people dead in the border state.

The Rastrojos are currently thought to be the primary criminal group that controls the drug and contraband gasoline trade along the Venezuelan frontier, according to a report released this year by Colombian think-tank Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris. But it’s clear from these sporadic outbreaks of violence that other criminal interests in the region are unwilling to accept the Rastrojos as the dominant force.

Gunmen who claim they are acting in the AUC’s name are seeking to associate themselves with a once powerful organization that commanded significant fear and respect. It is also possible that by claiming the AUC’s name, these gunmen in Tachira are attempting to point out the stark differences between the Rastrojos and the AUC, and hence strengthen their assertion that the Rastrojos have reason to fear them. The Rastrojos is the only major Colombian criminal organization to draw much of its recruits from a drug trafficking cartel, rather than recruiting primarily from the ranks of a former paramilitary bloc.

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.

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…