The number of Venezuelan migrants who have settled in Colombia decreased for the first time in five years, from 1,825,000 people in February to 1,809,000 last March, according to the most recent report by the authorities that point to the causes of this decrease in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.
“This means a real reduction of 0.9%. This is the first time this has happened. We have always had increasing figures with more or less slope,” said the director of Colombia Migration, Juan Francisco Espinosa, at a conference virtual press.
Bogotá is the region with the largest number of Venezuelans with 357,586, representing 19.76%.
The capital is followed by the Norte de Santander department, which has the main border crossing between both countries and “concentrates 11.40%, which corresponds to 206,416 Venezuelans.”
There are also high figures in the Caribbean Atlantic, “which has 167,107, corresponding to 9.23%”, and La Guajira, also border, with 161,106, equivalent to 8.9% of the total.
CLOSURES AND ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES
The official stated that among the reasons for this decrease is that citizens stopped arriving due to the closure of borders and the prohibition of international and domestic flights, in force since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which in Colombia has left so far 24,104 and 803 dead.
He further explained that “due to the economic effects of the pandemic, a large part of the Venezuelan population has access to or derives their livelihood from informal markets.”
“This informality has been strongly affected by the isolation measures and by the situation of the pandemic and has also been an incentive for the exit from the national territory,” he added.
In this regard, he stated that between March 14 and May 26 at least 66,492 Venezuelans returned to their country, of which 23,312 did so via the Simón Bolívar international bridge, which connects to the Colombian city of Cúcuta (Norte de Santander ) with San Antonio del Táchira.
On the other hand, the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences reported last week that at least 2,061 Venezuelans have died since 2017 in Colombia.
In its report “Fatal injuries to Venezuelan citizens in Colombia 2017-April 2020,” the agency detailed that of the total number of fatalities, 1,666 were men and 395 women.
Regarding the causes of the deaths, Legal Medicine specified that 661 were homicides with firearms, 257 with sharp weapons, 81 crimes in fights, 334 natural deaths, 330 in transport events, 301 violent deaths from other causes and 97 suicides. .