Venezuela will send extra troops to the frontier with Colombia to increase security in the troubled border region, the country’s defense minister announced Monday.
Minister Carlos Mata told state television channel VTV that “we will intensify and strengthen security. In the coming days we will send the army, together with our national guard and [intelligence service] Sebin to the streets.”
The extra troops will aim to counter soaring crime in the border region, where Colombian guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug gangs are known to cross the border to escape Colombian authorities or traffic drugs.
The policemen and soldiers “will patrol the streets to fight these sources of insecurity” in the state of Tachira, bordering Colombia. They will combat crime “without violating human rights, the way it should be,” Mata said.
The strengthening of border security comes at a time that Colombia and Venezuela are in the process of improving ties that were broken by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez following Colombian accusations that Colombian FARC guerrillas are hiding in Venezuela. Chavez has always said that right wing paramilitaries are sowing terror in the region. According to locals, both groups are present on the Venezuelan side of the border.