Violence against migrants from Venezuela is on the rise, Colombia’s medical examiner’s office said in a study obtained by British press agency Reuters..
According to the report, on average one Venezuela died a violent death every day over the past few months, a trend that could worsen as the mass migration persists and resistance in Colombian society grows.
The Medical Examiner’s reports obtained by Reuters said that 233 Venezuelan citizens were killed between January and July this year, mainly in the troubled border area where many of the estimated 1.4 million migrants have been staying.
Between 2009 and 2018, more than 500 Venezuelan citizens were killed in Colombia, according to the report, but violence targeting Venezuelans has skyrocketed. Between 2017 and last year, deadly violence tripled, the Medican Examiner’s Office reportedly said in its report.
Venezuelans killed in Colombia
Source: Reuters / Medical Examiner’s Office
The total number of violent Venezuelan deaths in Colombia is likely to increase further, considering the large number of people killed between January and July.
The spike in violence comes with increased intolerance towards Venezuelan migrants.
According to Gallup, its latest poll in June indicated that Colombians have turned against the policy of Ivan Duque to allow Venezuelans fleeing their country’s humanitarian crisis.
For the first time, a majority of 55% of those polled by Gallup said to disagree with the government policy to allow Venezuelans in the country.
In February last year, 58% were still in favor of this, according to the pollster.
Some 67% of the respondents said to have a negative opinion about the Venezuelan migrants.
The growing intolerance has been accompanied by death threats that have appeared in cities with a relatively large Venezuelan migrant population like the capital Bogota and Bucaramanga, a city located at some 50 kilometers of the border.
In Bucaramanga, far-right group Aguilas Negras threatened with a so-called ‘social cleansing” of “bums and thieves that generally are Venezuelans,” flyers stapled on trees last month said.
They’re going down, just like those who take them in as those who take them in agree with crime. This cleansing will be carried at the request of the citizens. Those who have Venezuelans employed in their businesses are given 48 hours to replace them.
A similar flyer appeared in Bogota weeks before.
Colombia’s state authorities lack the capacity to deal with the massive influx of Venezuelans that began after a global drop in commodity prices in 2015 that sunk the Venezuelan economy and its oil-funded food and healthcare program.
The government in Bogota was already unable to effectively assist the 7.5 million citizens who were internally displaced by Colombia’s armed conflict and have been overwhelmed by the additional migration from the neighboring country/
Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo last week lamented the lack of international support, claiming his country has only received a fraction of the funds received by other countries dealing with mass migration or refugee issues.
Here are some examples: For the care of 5.3 million migrants in Syria, $2.66 trillion was received, or $501.89 per migrant. For the care of 1.4 million migrants in Southern Sudan, $700 million was received, i.e. $500 per migrant and for the care of 900,000 migrants in Myanmar, $682.1 million was received, or $757.89 per migrant.
Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo
The international community sent Colombia only 30% of the funds believed necessary to deal with the crisis, leaving the authorities with a $68 budget per migrant, said the foreign minister.
More than one third of the approximately 4 million people who fled Venezuela over the past five years are residing in Colombia, the majority of them without any legal documentation.