A few hours ago, the presidential press announced that the Strategic Operational Commander (Ceofanb), admiral-in-chief Remigio Ceballos Ichaso He had said that “so far more than 176 people have been captured in illegal crossings. The military presence has been increased so that everyone who enters this way complies with health protocols. ” Without a doubt that the high official is misinformed or hides the truth intentionally. Hundreds of people come and go daily across the border.
That comes from the daily report that the vice president Delcy Rodríguez did on Tuesday night, announcing that they had registered 125 imported cases, of which 79 come from Colombia. He added that in “In the last 24 hours, 175 new positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected by community transmission, of which 99 are in the state of Zulia.” Fifteen in Táchira, eleven in Sucre and seven in Mérida.
Actually, the great smuggling industry on the border has not stopped. In addition to food and medicine, human trafficking and drug trafficking are added.
The control that is proclaimed at the border is false. “Everything is handled like a mafia. That started a few years ago, but the only way to survive is by accepting the rules. They impose a curfew, but for those who have no way to pay, because the measure has only just started, at the same time, trucks, cars and people from those who smuggle or from the armed groups that collect money also circulate. Infobae a woman who lives in San Antonio del Táchira.
He narrates that everything goes through the trails without any control. “It is not known there, at least we do not know, who happens, what happens or in what quantity. All of this is controlled by the elenos (members of the National Liberation Army guerrilla), hand in hand with the Bolivarian National Guard. ”
– How do those people who need to pass?
– Each one pays 25 thousand pesos (almost 7 dollars) one way and 25 thousand coming.. They almost undress people who are in need of spending more than everything on the subject of remittances and money orders. Now, if you spend a million pesos, for example, they take 30 thousand pesos from you.
– Why do all the people you meet towards the border line warn you not to think about taking out the phone when trying to pass or return from Venezuelan territory?
– Ah, because whoever takes out a cell phone in that area where there are armed men takes a shot. What’s more, those who travel frequently go with the phone hidden and even without a battery or turned off. That is what the guerrillas do to avoid photos or videos. You take out the phone when they are not around. Do you remember when in February of last year when Humanitarian Aid there were several videos and photos of armed men, in the middle of the town, threatening journalists and the civilian population? Those images went around the world, so the guerrillas and groups were scolded by their leaders. And there were many cases that were not reported at that time because equipment and phones were stolen.
– Yes, in those days there were many reports of threats against journalists who were locked up in San Antonio and Ureña, unable to leave the area.
– And many did not tell what happened to them out of fear. The so-called protector of Táchira and several deputies and leaders of Chavismo, were emboldened by the groups to threaten journalists and opposition leaders. To a journalist from Venevision, which is a channel close to the government, they gave him a lock of hair (pulled hair) and stole the equipment. Some cousins of mine saw her crying and very scared. But since that February of last year, the groups and guerrillas have gained more strength, displacing the paramilitaries and implementing measures to avoid photos and videos.
– They take more care not to expose themselves.
– No, that goes. They act openly. The ELN and the National Guard don’t care if everyone sees them. But beyond the vaccine there are other things that worry about what is happening. Note that the cases of Covid-19 were shot up in the state, among them the Seboruco municipality, because the mayor’s relatives have a business with Colombian merchandise; they don’t care about catching or spreading other people.
– In Táchira there are 23 Comprehensive Social Assistance Points (PASI), two Special Points (PASIE), one (PASIC), one for Internal Migrants (PASIMI) and two Social Assistance Points (PAS). Everyone is supposed to go through there.
– No, those are for those who cross the bridge, but those who cross the trails do not receive any type of control. Also, the overcrowding centers because those are not shelters, it is just a parapet for returnees who come on foot. Along the trail there is a gigantic market for everything you can imagine and obviously without any sanitary control. The first affected are those of us who live in border towns. What is happening is the trail has once again become the connection point for all the smuggling, drug trafficking, but added to that is the virus wreaking havoc.
– Even though the river is swollen with rains, people keep passing without considering the risk.
– Because business is too lucrative for some, but it is a necessity for others. They made a bridge with soda boxes, stones and countless objects; there the groups with their long weapons are installed, directing the passage. In many trails there are groups with a Caracas accent.
– And the Venezuelan military?
– The National Guard obeys the elenos. On both sides of the Táchira river there are uniforms, on one side what looks like GNB and on the other side Colombian uniforms with camouflaged suits. They are seen in other civilian dresses, even with short pants, sports shores, even with jackets or sandals but all with long weapons.
– Aren’t you afraid to go through those trails?
– Fear? Fear is little, one goes mega scared, but the same is done out of necessity. The most dangerous thing in the trails is when they have fallen among the various groups for controlling the area. Those people make a lot of money, even many go to business. “I upload whatever you want and charge you as much,” they say. There is no control of anything, they spend as many times as they want, if they are contaminated or not, that is irrelevant to them. Imagine, there are already chains of dealer trocheros in San Cristóbal, the capital of Táchira.