Venezuelan authorities have apparently detained seven undocumented Colombians who were in the neighboring country for work purposes, reports La Opinion on Thursday.
Family members of the seven Colombians report that they lost contact about three weeks ago with their relatives, who went to the Venezuelan state of Miranda six weeks ago to work on a farm, and have not received any official information from the Venezuelan authorities.
The family members say that the Colombians had five children with them in Venezuela, and that the minors are currently being cared for by the owners of the farm while their parents are in the custody of the Venezuelan National Guard.
The seven Colombians, four men and three women, were identified as Alexis Martinez Medina (20), Loida Pineda Chavez (17), Diomedes Pineda Chavez, Iraida Pineda Chavez and her husband Carlos, and two other family members.
The mother of one of the Colombians, Ernestina Medina, said that two of the detained females were briefly released in order for them to acquire 28 million Venezuelan Bolivars needed to pay for the lawyer in charge of their case. Medina claims that the Colombians were warned that if they didn’t pay within 25 days they would be transferred to another prison.
Medina said that she has reported the case of the Colombian ombudsman.
Two weeks ago, Venezuelan authorities deported 48 Colombians, many of whom had been detained for improper documentation while in the neighboring country.
In April, Colombia announced that it will file formal complaints against Venezuela over the detention and mistreatment of Colombians by Venezuelan authorities, and also warned its citizens against traveling to the socialist nation for, amongst other reasons, arbitrary arrests “in which there is absence of full evidence and due guarantees in the light of international norms and standards.”