Colombian refugees adrift in undocumented limbo in Venezuela

InterPress Service reports

Peasants fleeing Colombia’s armed conflict are still trickling into Venezuela, joining the multitude who in the last seven years have requested refugee status and an identity document to help them rebuild their lives in their new country.

One problem is that “we are not out of reach here of the forces fighting in Colombia,” Laura (not her real name), a candy seller at a spot between Guasdualito and El Nula, two settlements in the border zone with Colombia in southwestern Venezuela about 650 km from Caracas, told IPS.

In 2005, Laura and the father of her third daughter, now five years old, managed a small restaurant in Vichada, a province in eastern Colombia near the Orinoco river, which was then controlled by the leftwing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), when suddenly the area was overrun by far-right paramilitary militias.

“Neither side tolerates people having any connection with the other. That time about 15 people were killed. I came to Venezuela with my three children, my partner fled and joined the FARC. We split up. Now he wants to take our little girl to Colombia: I won’t have it but he’s making death threats, calling me up from a telephone inside Venezuela,” said Laura.

Read the full story here.

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