Despite promises from Caracas and Bogota to rein in guerrilla activity along the Venezuelan-Colombian border, several Colombian governors of border departments have expressed their concern that activity from guerrilla groups FARC and ELN is on the rise.
Luis Eduardo Ataya, governor of the Arauca department, claims “the Venezuelan border is completely invaded by FARC and ELN guerrillas,” who have increased their criminal activities in the region, such as kidnapping and extortion.
While the Colombian and Venezuelan governments came to an agreement following a diplomatic fallout largely over Colombian accusations that Venezuela was harboring guerrillas, Ataya says “a state of constant danger persists along the Venezuelan border.” However, the Arauca governor also added that “saying the Venezuelan forces are allied with illegal groups is incredibly difficult, because our desire is to work hand in hand with the authorities (in Venezuela) to improve security.”
In the northeastern department of La Guajira, governor Jorge Eduardo Perez noted that guerrillas have allegedly harassed cattle ranchers and farmers along the Venezuelan border. “Along the Venezuelan border people are very worried about the presence of men who are presumed to be FARC members,” he said.
Despite these complaints that the diplomatic agreement between Colombia and Venezuela have accomplished little to improve security, the Venezuelan government has extradited four guerrilla members since diplomatic relations were restored in August. Although Colombian officials have been most vocal about guerrilla activity along the Venezuelan border, it is also well known that guerrilla groups operate along Colombia’s borders with Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.