HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Creates Special Unit to Fight Colombia Criminals
BRIEF

Venezuela Creates Special Unit to Fight Colombia Criminals

COLOMBIA / 15 JUL 2015 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of a new special forces unit meant to fight Colombian neo-paramilitary groups operating inside Venezuela, a move which comes off as political posturing. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the new military unit would combat the Colombian criminal groups dubbed "BACRIM" by the Colombian government, as they are "attacking Venezuela from Colombia." 

The move comes just days after a nationwide police operation reportedly uncovered evidence to suggest that criminal paramilitary groups had "installed" themselves in the country. Maduro said the special unit will deal specifically with issues of "paramilitary threats, criminal drug trafficking, and penetration that has come from the outside."

On the other side of the border, a Colombian non-governmental organization (NGO) in the border city of Cucuta recently condemned the involvement of Venezuelan nationals in BACRIM operations along the Colombia-Venezuela border. The NGO has alleged that BACRIM like the Rastrojos and the Urabeños are actively recruiting Venezuelan nationals to swell their ranks and support their operations.

The Colombia-Venezuela border has long been plagued by contraband smuggling, making it ripe territory for BACRIM activity. Tight currency and price controls in Venezuela further drive the smuggling trade in the region, as contraband runners can sell goods produced in Venezuela at much higher prices in Colombia. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

This is not the first time Venezuela has blamed Colombia for problems associated with organized crime. Facing pressure to do something about Venezuela's chaotic security situation, Maduro's announcement rings more like political theater rather than a carefully planned security policy. To be sure, Colombian BACRIM have engaged in cross-border operations, but it is unclear whether such events really warrant the creation of a dedicated military unit to combat them. 

SEE ALSO: BACRIM in Venezuela Profile

Both Colombia and Venezuela would do well to improve their bilateral cooperation on issues like border violence, drug trafficking, and contraband. Instead, the relationship between both countries has often run into tensions. In 2014, the situation deteriorated to the point that Venezuela even experimented with nightly border closures

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

COLOMBIA / 13 JAN 2011

Colombian rebels appear to be increasing their recruitment of foreign nationals after an Ecuadorean was captured and a Panamanian surrendered…

COLOMBIA / 13 APR 2012

As the Sixth Summit of the Americas approaches, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made…

COLOMBIA / 1 MAY 2017

The arrest in Italy of a Bosnian drug trafficker accused of working with Colombia's Urabeños crime group shows the growing…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…