HomeNewsBriefColombia Authorities Have ‘Institutionalized Contraband’: Venezuela diplomat
BRIEF

Colombia Authorities Have ‘Institutionalized Contraband’: Venezuela diplomat

COLOMBIA / 4 SEP 2015 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

A Venezuelan official has asserted Colombian authorities are responsible for rampant cross border smuggling, yet this finger-pointing ignores the dynamics of this illicit trade, much of which lie firmly on the Venezuelan side.

On September 3, Venezuelan Chancellor Delcy Rodriguez lashed out at her Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin over the ongoing border crisis between their two nations, asserting in a message posted to her Twitter account that the cross border contraband trade “has been institutionalized by Colombian authorities.”

The message was part of a series of Tweets responding to criticisms by Holguin of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his handling of border closures in the state of Tachira.

Previously, during a meeting between the two chancellors in Cartagena on August 26, Holguin said price differences created by subsidized goods and gasoline in Venezuela “makes it very difficult to control contraband,” reported El Espectador.

“It’s unbelievable, to say the least, that (Holguin) uses Venezuela’s policy of subsidization to hide the responsibility of Colombia in the fight against contraband,” retorted Rodriguez.

InSight Crime Analysis

Blame for the contraband trade between Venezuela and Colombia can be placed on both sides of the border.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Contraband

It is undeniable Venezuelan price controls on basic foodstuffs and gasoline has encouraged smuggling of such goods into Colombia, where they fetch much higher prices. However, criminal networks in Colombia -- such as neo-paramilitary groups known as BACRIM (short for the Spanish “criminal bands”) -- have propagated the contraband trade, earning profits by charging a “tax” on smuggled Venezuelan goods.

Additionally, cocaine flowing into Venezuela from Colombia -- along with contraband moving in the opposite direction -- have had a corrupting influence on each country’s border officials, facilitating illicit traffic moving in both directions. For instance, there are rumors this border crisis was set off by a clash between the Venezuelan military and National Guard over the drug trade.

Nonetheless, as long as artificial price differences exist between the two countries, the cross border contraband trade will continue to flourish.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 NOV 2021

At around 11 p.m. on April 6, 2020, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Solís was returning to the military base he commanded…

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2012

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced at a meeting of high-ranking Colombian military officials that regional security commanders from…

COLOMBIA / 15 FEB 2013

Rumors suggest that Mexican drug cartels have established a presence in southwest Colombia, according to Colombia’s president, highlighting the strategic…

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…