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Julia Flores

Venezuela declares state of emergency along border

with Colombia

The Venezuelan government suspended constitutional

guarantees for 60 days in five municipalities within the

state of Táchira.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, suspended

constitutional guarantees this Friday night. This measure

was implemented in five bordering municipalities that the

state of Táchira shares with Colombia.

This measure was taken in response by the Caracas

government to the attack recently undergone by

Venezuela. According to Venezuelan official spokespeople

the attack undertaken in the contiguous community of San

Antonio de Táchira is credited to Colombian smugglers or

paramilitaries. This assault left 4 Venezuelan citizens

wounded, 3 soldiers and a civilian.

This is the first time that a state of emergency is

established in the framework of the 1999 Venezuelan

constitution, which at that time was endorsed by former
president Chavez. Article 337 of the Venezuelan

constitution states that the suspension of constitutional

guarantees imposed by the executive branch of

government can remain in effect for 60 days. This

suspension can be renewed for a similar time period. The

Venezuelan commander in chief said that he is confident in

that the deadline will be enough to “reestablish our

beloved border zone as a Bolivarian area of cooperation”.

Hugo Chavez’s successor who is in charge of the self-

proclaimed Bolivarian Revolution, spoke from the

presidential palace and announced that the closure of the

border with Colombia, which was imposed that same

Wednesday night as a precautionary 72 hour measure, will

be prolonged “until further notice, until the situation


At Maduro’s side stood Diosdado Cabello who is

president of the national assembly, and the number two

ranking officer of chavismo. Diosdado offered the full

support of “all the revolutionary lower house

representatives” to the measures adopted by the president

to which he warned, “let us prepare for a long war”.
Venezuelan military forces are still on the lookout for

the alleged perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack. The

régime is looking for two bikers that were carrying

automatic weapons; the government has not hesitated in

classifying these two men as “paramilitaries”. Close to the

Simón Bolívar international bridge, in San Antonio de

Táchira –where in 2008 singers Juanes and Migue Bosé

organized a concert for peace in Colombia and Venezuela-,

military leaders of the area briefed their campaign results.

Though they have not found the assailants, it was informed

that 42 citizens who were illegally in the country were

captured and immediately deported. It was also informed

that 53 tones of food and “strategic materials” destined for

contraband were confiscated, 4,000 tires for commercial

vehicles were found amongst the smuggled goods.

The governor of the state of Táchira, José Gregoirio Vielma

Mora, was named head of the region where the state of

emergency will take place, which comprises the

municipalities of Bolivar, Ureña, Capacho Lobertador and

Capacho Independencia. Vielma, who is a former military

official, stated that he longed to develop a better
relationship with their Colombian neighbors, but “ with

respect”, and that they themselves have been “very

tolerant” with the phenomenon’s that have made their way

into the country, such as contraband and delinquency.

Maduro accepted that the attack against the military

served as a “trigger” that helped him take the decision of

deploying 1,500 troops in the border area as well as of

“vigorously attacking” what he deems as “the serious

situation of the border”

For the Venezuelan government, all the main issues

which afflict the revolution stem from the penetrable bi-

national border of almost 2.300 Km. In the eyes of the

Venezuelan government the shortage of products is

attributed to: “bachaqueo” or in other words the

contraband of subsidized products; delinquency, which

Venezuela credits to the introduction of Colombian models

of organized crime and political rebellion, that blames

conspiracies hatched by former president Álvaro Uribe.

This Thursday, Maduro made a new entry to the long list of

offenses against Colombia; the social burden that the

exodus of Colombian citizens represent for his country.
According to Maduro 121,000 Colombian immigrants have

entered Venezuela so far this year.

Despite these denounces, which provoked irritation

in Bogotá, Maduro denied that he is being accused of

stirring up anti-Colombian xenophobia, as some media

commentators and human rights organizations like

PROVEA pointed out. The Venezuelan Program of

education on Human-Rights (PROVEA) a human rights

organization recently published a cartoon in which Nicolás

Maduro was compared to Donald Trump. Maduro stated

that such accusations are part of an international media

campaign that has the sole purpose of demonizing him.

“CERO xenophobia” he proclaimed “What we have here is

love” for Colombians. “We are chavistas, bolivarians, and I

dare say our Colombian brothers back us”, Maduro also

recalled a trip he made to Bogotá, where he was cheered

on the streets while he was executing his duties as Hugo

Chavez’ chancellor.