The Colombian government has started deporting hundreds of illegal invaders from Colombia back home after rising tensions between the rough-sleeping Columbians and locals, who accused the illegals of causing a crime spike.
According to local media, more than 200 Venezuelans have already been dumped back across the border after being evicted from a makeshift camp in the Sevilla barrio of Cucuta.
At least 900 Venezuelans had set up home on a local sports pitch and turned the entire area into a makeshift camp. The Venezuelans claimed to be fleeing the worsening economic crisis in their home country, and had crossed the border in the hopes of finding an income of some sort.
Their camp was however cleared by Colombian authorities, who said the invaders “did not possess the correct paperwork.”
The eviction and deportation of the camp, dubbed by locals as “Hotel Caracas”, comes on the heels of rising tensions between the invaders and locals. Last week, a march was organised by residents in Cucuta to demand that authorities immediately remove the rough sleepers.
According to a flyer circulated for the demonstration and shared by Venezuelan news site Aporrea, locals were protesting against the “imposition of Venezuelan delinquents”. Colombian authorities confirmed that the camp was also attacked with molotov cocktails.
The assault meant that just 200 Venezuelans remained on the sports pitch by the time authorities arrived, with others having already fled.
Venezuela is currently undergoing its worst economic crisis since the 1990s, causing hundreds of thousands of citizens to leave the country. Though rich Venezuelans often head to the United States and Europe, most working class types have ended up in neighbouring Colombia and Brazil.
Colombia says that up to 450,000 Venezuelans have legally and illegally entered the country over the past 18 months.