More than 2,000 Venezuelan migrants returned to their country in the last two days through Colombia and thousands more are expected to follow them amid the socioeconomic crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, an influential leader of the ruling Chavismo said on Tuesday. .
“In the last 48 hours, after quarantine was decreed for everyone who enters from Colombia, 2,135 Venezuelans have entered,” said Freddy Bernal, authority designated by President Nicolás Maduro for Táchira, a border state with the Colombian city of Cúcuta.
Bernal stressed that an “avalanche” of returns is expected, in statements broadcast on government television.
In this sense, he indicated that between 3,000 and 5,000 people come to Venezuela from Peru and Ecuador crossing Colombia, that the weekend activated a humanitarian corridor so that Venezuelans could go to their country.
Colombia has received almost 2 million Venezuelans out of the 4.9 million that have come out since the end of 2015 driven by the worst crisis of the former oil power in its recent history, according to the UN.
“They are heading towards the border and we are preparing for the arrival of that human avalanche with an entire infrastructure,” Bernal said.
Those people who returned have been located in eight points of “comprehensive social care” installed in schools and lyceums of San Antonio del Táchira, a population bordering Colombia.
Once in the country, they undergo a “screening” process of COVID-19 and “go to quarantine for 15 days,” stressed the official leader.
Since March 13, the Venezuelan government has reported 165 cases of coronavirus and seven deaths.
The Venezuelans, who were forced by debacle and are now returning due to the pandemic, are subjected to a “protocol” that includes “hypochlorite disinfection”, a temperature check and a quick test to rule out COVID-19.
Maduro, who estimates that 15,000 people will arrive in the coming weeks along the Colombian border, has pointed out that Venezuelan migrants have suffered “mistreatment” and “xenophobia” in the midst of the pandemic and assures that once in Venezuela they receive “free” medical care “
A nocturnal curfew was decreed on Monday in the towns where the two main border crossings with Colombia are, alleging that violent groups are trying to cross them mixing with Venezuelans who are returning due to the pandemic.