Colombian refugees are forgotten by the world and their own country

I recently read the post on Facebook of a close Friend on how he was proud of being European and the mobilization of people to help Syrians. Unfortunately, today I cannot feel proud of being Colombian. We are so far from Europe, not only in terms of distance, but of culture.

Most likely anyone who is not Colombian may have no idea about recent happenings in the border with Venezuela. The government of Nicolas Maduro recently deported more than 4,000 Colombians without any due process, a clear abuse of human rights. Plain violence. These Colombians were brutally forced to take as many belongings they could carry and walk with them all the way to the border, even crossing rivers. The pictures are devastating. They were expelled from Venezuela, mercilessly beaten and harmed by the Venezuelan army. Their houses were tagged with graffiti and later at night demolished by bulldozers, with animals inside. This is not kidding. I say this not only from what is reported in the news, but from primary (and trustable) sources.

This situation that has arisen could likely be named a ‘humanitarian crisis’. These people lost everything they had, and cannot go back. If this not the definition of a humanitarian crisis, then I do not get international law. But nobody seems to care about this. Colombia is not just important enough for the international community. We are mostly recognized as exporters of drug dealers’ TV shows.

I am not here arguing to draw support from the international community, which is strained enough with the Middle East crisis. I would like to ask why, to my knowledge, no large protests are taking place, and no signatures are being collected. Where in Germany people offered their houses to host migrants/refugees and even developed an online platform for such purpose, there is no equivalent in Colombia. People may argue —they shouldn’t have been in Venezuela in the first place, that country is going nowhere, and everybody knows it!—, so typical of a culture which is used to not get any help from others for free.

What would it take for people to host deported Colombian in their houses, or put pressure on the government to adopt sound policies? What would it take for people to raise their voice on the topic?

I would bet that nothing will change. In a couple of weeks, the news will move to another topic. After all, the government may be even pleased that this occurred, since was able to pass an increase of almost 5% to members of parliament, without anyone noticing.

The root of the problem is not that we have been forgotten in the international game. It is that we do not care about ourselves… After all, with over 6 million people affected by internal conflict, thousands of them displaced (I do not have exact figures), no wonder how people wouldn’t mind about another 4.000 in need.


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