IN SEARCH OF A TROCHERO
At least this time, it was easy for the team of Todos Ahora to get ahold of a young man that did this activity for a living. We located him because we saw him with another young man who works on the same route; they were carrying suitcases through a natural path next to the structure of the bridge.
- We need to move to Colombia.
- Well, it’s 30,000 pesos
- We only have 20,000
- Deal! But they must see you first, let’s go this way!
- If you have currency, euros, dollars, that stays with us.
- We only have bolívares (Bs.).
- How much?
- Like 250 (less than 10 dollars at the parallel exchange rate of that day).
- Well, we’ll see about that.
- Ah, so you are journalists? What are you doing crossing here?
- Yes, we do not have the border mobility card and we are trying to get to Cúcuta, that’s the reason.
- Why are you going there?
- We will do research work about the Venezuelans who travel to the rest of the continent from there.
- Ahm. (While reviewing our belongings, he put his gun to his waist, in addition to explicitly requesting our cell phones and hiding them in the pockets of his shirt).
- Isn’t this the police academy? (while holding the student card).
- No, of course not, it says Political Studies
- Ahm, politics… But, I think that this is the university of the PTJ (former name of the Venezuelan scientific police for its Spanish acronym) and do you know what we do to the police or to the national guards? Well, we kill them! And you look a policeman
- We are not police, in my case I am a student and I work as a journalist, we have nothing more to tell you.
- Well, we believe you, but when people like you want to cross, I must tell the bosses, I will be back.
- You know what? everyone to work as they please; you do that work, I do this one, and as long as we do not get involved with anyone, we should be able to continue with our own things, don’t you think?
- Yes, it seems like that to us (our correspondent answered timidly)
- What about our cell phones?
- Well, everything has a price as we said, I did not tell my boss that you were from the press.
- But we need them, it’s how we do our work – we insist.
- You know you cannot do that.
- Did their phones get wet? Because they are wet up to the neck
- That’s it? We asked.
- Yes, but listen to me, you did not see anything here. Yo don’t have photos or anything like that, right?
- We do not have anything
- Better that way, as I said about policemen and sapos (word for snitch in Colombia and Venezuela); we do them the wrong thing around here, do you understand?
- We understand
- You can go then
- You finish accompanying them – he says to the Venezuelan who brought us from our territory.
- They wanted to take advantage because they saw you were young, and they fear the press. But thank God the situation didn’t escalate, I would not have left you alone. See that road there? At the end, it already connects with the bridge and you will meet your people.
- Are your phones still on? (pointing to one of our correspondents) could you record anything? This work must be shown.
- Excellent, from this point I cannot be seen, try to leave discreetly, although with all your clothes that wet it is impossible; we are at your service.
The content of this investigation was obtained thanks to this border-crossing method, which despite the risks, allowed us to observe the Venezuelan migratory crisis, firsthand.