Venezuelan military offensive sends thousands fleeing, recharging one of the world’s worst refugee crises
A campaign by Venezuelan military near the western border is causing a new wave of refugees. Thousands are defying the pandemic to pack into makeshift camps in Arauquita, Colombia. The Venezuelan refugees represent the world’s second largest group of internationally displaced people. The mounting tensions between left-wing Venezuela and right-wing Colombia are blaming each other for violence in the western Apure state of Venezuela.
Two weeks ago, a rogue faction of Colombian guerrillas were responsible for a new campaign launched by the Venezuelan military against them. The 10th Front ran afoul of the government in Caracas, and the Colombian Defense Minister states the government of Venezuela seems to be protecting its drug-trafficking business rather than its sovereignty. The death toll of the new campaign is at nine, 32 people have been arrested and nine camps have been destroyed. Human rights groups say Venezuelan military forces are falsely targeting civilians in the campaign. Nearly 5,000 refugees, 40% being children, have fled the fighting over the past two weeks.