Colombia-Venezuela Border faced with shift in criminal dynamics and possible violent future
January 30, 2018 | Brainwave Science
The Colombia- Venezuela border region has been a hub for criminal activities for years. Used for drug trafficking, contraband, and extortion, the border serves to Colombia’s most powerful organized crime groups. The current economic spiral in Venezuela, along with the existing crisis facilitates the shift of criminal dynamics on the border. Today, this is one of the most important organized crime hubs in Latin America.
Venezuela’s role as a fundamental transshipment point for Colombian drug traffickers creates a real problem, not only locally, but also of a global concern. Through here, illegal shipments reach markets in the United States and Europe.
The history of this region in terms of drug trafficking has always been unkind. Controlled in the past by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the National Liberation Army, and the Popular Liberation, Venezuela’s border is now still an important point of interest for guerrillas, paramilitaries and BACRIM. Contraband smuggling is also a highly lucrative criminal activity along the Colombia-Venezuela border.
The main reason behind this situation stands for the chaos and corruption in the area. Systemic corruption and criminality within the ranks of Venezuela’s security forces, which President Nicolás Maduro is ignoring, is one factor contributing to these shifts.
According to Fundación Redes Director Javier Tarazona, the Maduro administration and Venezuela’s security forces, particularly the shadowy groups within the Bolivarian National Guard and military commonly referred to as the Cartel of the Suns, are complicit in working with Colombian criminal groups operating on the border.
Confronted with a dark prevision of the future, Venezuela’s law enforcement is faced with a major challenge. The increasing rate of migration, now of almost 25,000 citizens fleeing into Colombia, gives criminal organized groups the chance to tax them and recruit them cheap for labor. According to Tarazona, Colombian criminal groups are recruiting fleeing members of the colectivos, in addition to children and teenagers, to use in their criminal operations.
All this brings with it violence, an increase in criminal operations and a bigger rate of conflict on the border than ever. Criminal dynamics on the border are likely to continue shifting as Colombia’s post-FARC criminal world takes shape and instability in Venezuela continues.
With this in perspective, authorities are forced to find new solutions that can keep the border situation under control. The decrease of criminal activities is mandatory, as the border region is not the main priority for either government, thereby likely to exacerbate criminality.
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