Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Jaime Bermudez, will travel to the northeastern city of Cucuta on Wednesday to evaluate the situation of Colombians residing on the border with Venezuela, reports Caracol Radio.
At the meeting Bermudez will hear complaints from local residents about alleged abuses committed by Venezuelan authorities at the border. The foreign minister’s trip precedes a local town-hall meeting scheduled Saturday between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Cucuta residents to discuss similiar local issues.
Earlier this week, Colombia’s Foreign Ministry announced that it will officially complain to Venezuela about a case involving the detention and mistreatment of two Colombians by the Venezuelan army.
A Colombian man and his son, a deaf-mute minor, were detained and allegedly abused by members of the Venezuelan army while travelling in their boat on the Arauca river, on the Venezuelan side of the border.
Last week, the Colombian government released an official statement advising its citizens not to travel to Venezuela, warning of the “risks” involved in entering the neighboring country.
In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, citizens are advised against going to Venezuela “as a result of the recent situations that have affected compatriots in the country.”
“The government sees with concern the cases of homicides of Colombians which have not yet been sufficiently clarified, and the cases of arrests in which there is absence of full evidence and due guarantees in the light of international norms and standards,” the statement read.
Tensions between the neighboring countries have escalated in recent weeks due to several reported cases of Colombian citizens being targeted by Venezuelan authorities.
Uribe said of the arrests, “We can not allow Colombians to be persecuted for their nationality.”