Colombia’s government has tightened border regulations for Venezuelans, allowing them to enter the country by land only if they have Colombian residency.
The move comes amid a Venezuelan government’s decision to slowly begin reopening the border which has been closed since August.
The border had originally been closed in August following an incident when Colombian paramilitaries attacked the Venezuelan military.
The action on behalf of Colombian migration authorities is said to aim “to continue to ensure the security and order at border crossings.”
The tightening of protocols will mean that at the three international bridges: Simon Bolivar, Francisco de Paula Santander, and the bi-national step La Union, Venezuelan citizens who want to enter must submit to immigration officials Colombia, passport or identity card that accredits residency in the country.
Failure to comply with the required documentation will be denied entry.
“These measures do not go beyond asking Venezuelans who want to cross national territory to be registered as Colombian residents. Those who do not comply are refused passage,” read the Colombian government’s statement.
This statement by the government intimated that the six-month border closure had given them an opportunity to review security policies and that these recent measures fit in with those policies.
Also, according to the mayor of Villa del Rosario, Pepe Ruiz Paredes, checks are also carried out in the city of Cucuta and the municipalities of the metropolitan area to verify that the Venezuelan citizens who are in national territory comply with the requirements for the law, otherwise, will be deported to their country of origin.
Meanwhile the governor of the Venezuelan state of Tachira criticized the actions of the Colombian government.
“It represents a sort of a kick and an excessive step to violate the Tonchala Treaty” which allows the entry of citizens of both countries with the presentation of the identity card.
Colombia’s latest move heightened the tensions between the two governments whose relationship has been frayed since the closing of the border in August during which 1,500 Colombian nationals were evicted, with a further 20,000 fleeing the country fearing reprisal.