Now the enemy du jour is the Colombian migrant, adding a full blown humanitarian crisis — garnished with xenophobia — to Venezuela’s rolling economic disaster.
By expelling Colombians, Maduro also is trampling tradition. “Venezuela has been one of the most welcoming countries to foreigners in history,” said Javier Corrales, a political scientist at Amherst College. “To see these border tensions explode now is hugely distressing.”
By now Venezuelans have grown accustomed to President Nicolas Maduro’s penchant for pinning his country’s economic crisis on a gamut of devils, from native capitalist speculators to yanqui meddlers. But by sending troops to round up and deport Colombian nationals, toppling homes and separating families in the process, he may have outdone himself.
The incident was triggered by an attack last week, when unidentified gunmen left three Venezuelan border guards and one civilian injured. Maduro was quick to blame Colombia’s paramilitary forces, purportedly linked to ultra-conservative former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, so injecting a note of political intrigue into the frontier incident.
Venezuela More than 1,000 Colombian immigrants have so far been deported from the state of Tachira, in western Venezuela. The deportees, plus another 4,000 or so Colombians who fled for fear of eviction, swept up everything they could carry and rushed to the border, some wading rushing rivers to safety.
As the roundup spread, Maduro’s Bolivarian guard emblazoned each migrant’s home with a blue R, for legal residents, or a red D for demolition, in the case of illegal immigrants, adding a chilling Gestapo flourish to this tropical version of cultural cleansing.
What’s clear is that this was one more in a series of violent incidents on this lawless frontier, where the rugged terrain and bent border officials have encouraged gangs of pirates and contrabandistas to compete for a share of the flourishing trade in stolen and smuggled wares.
Driving the violence are Venezuela’s disastrous price controls and the doctored exchange rate, which have left consumer goods from poultry to insulin in chronic short supply and created demand in a booming black market.
To read the rest of this article By Mac Margolis on August, 28, 2015 in Bloomberg View click on the link below.
Venezuela Picks a New Scapegoat: Colombia – Bloomberg View