Despite ample promotion by Colombia’s ruling party and media, Venezuelan migrants stood alone in Bogota on Thursday to protest their president, Nicolas Maduro.
According to W Radio, less than 300 people showed up at Venezuela’s embassy in Bogota to demand the resignation of Maduro, who was inaugurated for a second presidential term in Caracas hours earlier.
Conservative radio station RCN, which had promoted the march, said that “thousands” of people took part in the protest, but this was contradicted by images and video from the event.
— Ruben D.C Hidalgo (@RubenDCHidalgo) January 10, 2019
According to authorities, more than a million Venezuelans have moved to Colombia over the past years to escape the political and economic crisis that have put the neighboring country on the brink of becoming a failed state.
“We invite our Colombian brothers and the entire Venezuelan community to speak out,” Venezuelan activist Francine Howard told RCN ahead of the march, but in vain.
Not even the ruling party lawmakers who had promoted the march did not interrupt their three-month Christmas recess to show their solidarity.
Colombia’s conservative government, which has been among the most vociferous in Latin America to demand an end to Maduro’s authoritarian rule, did speak out.
Vice-president Marta Lucia Ramirez said Venezuela had become a security threat for Colombia and blamed Maduro for her government’s failure to provide basic security in her country.
We know how unfortunately, with the protection of the Venezuelan authorities, drug trafficking has been flourishing in the neighboring country. Criminal groups from Colombia and from different parts of the world move with absolute freedom. We also know how drug trafficking has generated pain, blood and loss of life and many resources in Colombia.
Marta Lucia Ramirez
Ramirez then asked people to pray and “ask God for a way out of the dictatorship in Venezuela,” which was immediately rejected by secular politicians.
“Let’s not put God in a position. He’s very busy,” said former Vice-President Humberto de la Calle (Liberal Party), stressing that he supported the international opposition to Maduro and efforts to call the Venezuelan president to justice before the International Criminal Court.
Colombia, like the majority of Latin American countries, the United States and the European Union, refuse to recognize the presidency of Maduro, who obtained a new mandate to govern Venezuela for another six years.