Crossing through the trochas: a high-risk need

Crossing through the trochas: a high-risk need

chapter vii

The violence overflowed in Venezuelan territory, that results from a mixture of «common crime» and organized crime, is found in these illegal crossings to Colombia, an environment of impunity that encourages atrocious crimes; abuses of authority; extrajudicial executions and recklessness of trocheros, as well as travelers themselves. This situation leads to an unknown number of deaths.The work done by the local media to clarify the most frequent crimes, as well as shed light on those responsible, is considered high risk, due to the powerful interests that are in the middle of the conflict, in addition to the difficulty of access to this geographic area. Non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders also play a fundamental role in registering violations of the fundamental guarantees that are carried out in these areas.In the year 2018, there were several incidents registered in the Venezuelan border crossings, the following being the most negative balances for the peace of the inhabitants of the region, as well as for the passers-by of these unofficial routes:January 17, 2018: in Villa del Rosario, Santander, Colombia, Venezuelan Xiomalbara Charlotte Blanco Viera, 42, was found dead with evidence of torture, in an illegal crossing. The Colombian police announced that she was a gas smuggler and it was a case of revenge.October 12, 2018: in the municipality of Ureña, Táchira state (Venezuela), the Táchira River dragged five passers-by from a crossing point in the «La Marranera» sector, leading to their death, and even the disappearance of one of the corpses.November 24, 2018: in the border area of La Guajira, Zulia state (Venezuela), a confrontation on trocha number 80, between Venezuelan guards and suspected gas smugglers, ends with a balance of 10 trucks burned and three dead, including a member of the Wayú ethnic group, community that has denounced this issue in multiple instances.December 2018: in several illegal crossings, the organization FundaRedes denounced, along with testimonies, the forced recruitment of migrants in conditions of extreme poverty, in exchange for sums of money in Colombian pesos or even kidnapping, to increase the number of people belonging to irregular armed groups operating in Venezuelan territory.These are some of the verified risks that come with crossing the trochas, in addition to the geographical difficulties, a criminal environment and risk to life itself, to complete the drama of fleeing Venezuela through these territories, at the mercy of armed men.

The silence of the authorities of both countries on this serious issue, encouraged by the rupture of relations with the Nicolás Maduro Regime, makes this region one of the most vulnerable in social and economic terms for both nations.


General Directorate of Todos Ahora
Indhira Vera

Executive Directorate of Todos Ahora
Daniel Hernández

Gabriele Colasante
Equipo de Investigación de Todos Ahora

Gabriele Colasante
Equipo de Redacción de Todos Ahora

Art director
David Flores

Audiovisual editing and editing direction
Joshua Arguello
Christian Roballo

Sound editing
Héctor Meneses