Violence in Norte de Santander affects Venezuelan cities, says governor | news today

Vehicles on the Atanasio Girardot binational bridge, which links the towns of Cúcuta (Colombia) and Tienditas (Venezuela).

Vehicles on the Atanasio Girardot binational bridge, which links the towns of Cúcuta (Colombia) and Tienditas (Venezuela).

Photo: EFE – Mario Caicedo

The governor of the Venezuelan state of Táchira, Freddy Bernal, denounced, in a video broadcast this Thursday, that the “unleashed” violence in the Colombian department of Norte de Santander “inadvertently” impacts the cities of San Antonio and Ureña, located in the region that he governs, which borders the Andean country.

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Bernal assured that irregular armed groups “occupy more and more spaces in Cúcuta, Villa del Rosario and the Catatumbo area with very violent actions” that seem “a challenge to the Colombian State”, which, “without a doubt, (… ) unintentionally impacts San Antonio and Ureña”.

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“Unfortunately, violence is unleashed on the other side of Norte de Santander, that is not a secret to anyone. (There were) more than 48 homicides in the last month alone, more than 4 kidnappings, some that have ended in homicide. (…) This violence, unfortunately, they cannot control from Colombia, ”he said.

Faced with this situation, the official called to “maintain the greatest control mechanisms” to “prevent this violence from spreading to Venezuela” and guarantee “peace, tranquility and good living for the Tachirense people.”

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“We are evaluating the profound manifestations of violence in Colombia on a daily basis,” added Bernal. Violence over territorial disputes between illegal armed groups in the Colombian city of Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela, worsened at the beginning of 2023, and in January alone it left 36 homicides in its metropolitan area.

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Cúcuta, the capital of Norte de Santander, has Colombia’s main border crossings with Venezuela and numerous trails through which people, contraband goods and even weapons and drugs circulate between the two countries, according to authorities.

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These activities are managed by guerrillas, paramilitaries and criminal gangs that expanded their activity from the troubled region of Catatumbo, one of the largest coca producers in the Andean country, where for years the armed conflict has forced hundreds of people to flee in condition of displaced to the regional capital.

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