Venezuelans are migrating to Colombia in record numbers, according to Christian Krüger Sarmiento, general director of Migración Colombia. Border crossings have risen, particularly in the bridge crossing to Colombia’s department of Northern Santander.
Most of these Venezuelans are arriving from nearby cities and reportedly heading towards Cúcuta, the capital city, in order to buy essential goods before returning to Venezuela. However many have chosen to stay, and have migrated to Colombia’s larger cities on the coast, as well as to Bogota and Medellin, the country’s two largest cities.
With scare supplies, triple digit inflation and high crime, many Venezuelans have decided to abandon their home country until the situation improves. However many fear that the crisis will worsen with the forthcoming celebrations of the anniversary of the birth of Simón Bolívar, and pending elections for the National Constituent Assembly that has been convened by Maduro. Authorities are monitoring migration traffic and preparing for a worse case scenario in which Venezuelans flood into Colombia to escape the worsening conditions in their homeland.
Colombia is not the only country to receive Venezuelans. Statistics from the Cúcuta Transport Station indicate that many Venezuelans are using Colombia as a bridge to access other South American nations, including Peru and Ecuador.
On July 30th, Maduro will hold a constituent assembly, aiming to alter the country’s constitution. The assembly is seen by most international observers as a power grab, and will likely grant Maduro dictatorial powers with the ability to suspend the 2018 Venezuelan elections and disband congress.