Conflict Refugees Cross the Border to Colombia
Colombian Immigration, the Arauquita mayorship and HRW estimate that over 3,000 people have fled from Venezuela since Sunday, displaced by violence and repression; FAO and the World Food Programme warned on Tuesday that food insecurity in Venezuela will significantly increase during 2021; the IACHR will hold hearings to receive cases on criminalizing human rights activists in Venezuela and the situation of migrants during the pandemic.
- “It hurts my soul, what the Army’s done… coming here to destroy our possessions. Yesterday, at 5:00 a.m., in my own house, right around the corner from the school, they kicked my door, they took my grandson who came from Maturín, they beat him, they put weapons to his temples,” an 86-year-old woman who lives in Apure said.
- Colombian Immigration, the Arauquita (Colombia) mayorship and Human Rights Watch estimate that over 3,000 people have fled from Venezuela since Sunday, displaced by violence and repression. Members of the AN’s Delegate Commission presided by Juan Guaidó assure that the clash in Apure on March, 21st wasn’t a defense operation but a dispute between guerrilla groups.
- Gaby Arellano assured that Venezuelan troops received an order to defend the interests of FARC dissidents Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich, who are fighting with a rival group. Forced displacement was also condemned during the debate. “It’s nothing but a FARC vs. FARC clash (…) the dictatorship has sent the Army to neutralize the dissidents’ dissidence,” said Iván Simonovis, who added that these dissidents knew they were looking for them and left a small group behind to detonate the anti-personnel mines.
- FAO and the World Food Programme warned on Tuesday that food insecurity in Venezuela will significantly increase during 2021, “even more than in 2019 when around 9.3 million Venezuelans were in food insecurity,” they said. FAO and the World Food Programme said that hyperinflation, sanctions, restrictions because of the pandemic and the fuel shortage will worsen hunger in the country.
- PAHO said that the first vaccines that will arrive to Venezuela through the COVAX mechanism are AstraZeneca, according to Dr. Ciro Ugarte, director of PAHO’s Emergency and Disaster Department.
- Pfizer announced that it has started a new clinical trial to prove an oral medicine against coronavirus. The PF-07321332 has shown great promise during in vitro studies. Fingers crossed.
- NGO Médicos Unidos por Venezuela reported that 379 healthcare workers have died after ten new workers died on March 22nd.
- Unión Afirmativa warned that the CEV’s call to block gay marriage initiatives could generate acts of violence and discrimination against the LGBTIQ+ community, and the increase of hate crimes and hate speech. They consider it serious that the Catholic church is saying that those who promote the right to get married are seen as wanting to destroy families.
- This week, the IACHR will hold hearings to receive cases on criminalizing human rights activists in Venezuela and the situation of migrants during the pandemic.
- The Venezuelan Association of Catholic Education reported that Maduro’s regime voided the decision to migrate the payroll of education centers affiliated to AVEC and APEP to the Patria system. The pressure worked, even though they haven’t increased their wages yet.
- Fedenaga president Armando Chacín said that the sector is in technical paralysis and reiterated that without fuel, they won’t have a way to start the first rain cycle to produce food. A fact that FAO and the World Food Programme didn’t take into account.
- Maduro’s representative to the dialogue commission Oscar Ronderos said that Fedecámaras’ proposal of importing five million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V hasn’t been finalized, but that it’s being pushed by the prêt-à-porter opposition. Fedecámaras had already said that this isn’t in their plans. More evidence of how well-informed Ronderos is.
- Maduro’s regime is insisting with their price control policy: SUNDDE reported that from March 15th to 21th they did 233 fiscalization operations and 166 inspections on supermarkets and pharmacies, imposing a “maximum retail price”. This deliberate action can cause more shortages because it increases the risk for stores and businesses.
- Maduro’s representative to the Human Rights Council voted against a new resolution against Daniel Ortega’s regime in Nicaragua, a resolution to strengthen monitoring of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and extending the mandate of the Special Human Rights Rapporteur in Iran for a year.
- To chavismo’s joy, the Human Rights Council approved a resolution on the sanctions’ negative repercussions on human rights. In addition, they approved a resolution on promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in human rights issues proposed by human rights violators like China, Cuba, Belarus, Iran and Venezuela.
- Former CITGO executive José Luis De Jongh Atencio plead guilty for his role in money laundering schemes. Between 2013 and 2019 he accepted over 7 million dollars in bribes.
- Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum said that Colombia needs more cooperation from other countries and international agencies to face the migration flow of Venezuelans and integrate all refugees arriving to the country.
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