Venezuela closes mine, expels 400 Colombians

412 Colombians and 40 Brazilians were expelled from Venezuela and allegedly mistreated after the illegal gold mine they were working for was closed down.

Diego Molano, the director of the presidential agency for the displaced Accion Social, said the group was forced to get into helicopters and left at the Venezuela-Colombia border early Saturday morning, newspaper Semana reported Monday. The group then decided to cross the border into the Colombian town of Puerto Inirida.

Defense Minister Gabriel Silva traveled to Puerto Inirida Monday and to hear the group’s concerns.

“They have been expelled without the appropriate processes, without information, without telling us so that we could prepare a humane reception for these people,” he said.

They reported that they were pushed, the women were man handled and forced to hand over their belongings.

According to Semana, some of the group already had accommodation in Puerto Inirida but around 50 of them are being housed at a local school.

Silva announced the government will create a mining plan for the community in Puerto Inirida so that they do not have to go to Venezuela to find work, WRadio reported.

Silva also proposed the creation of a special status for those expelled that will allow them to receive economic help while they are in Puerto Inirida.

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