Colombia will close its border with Venezuela again while presidential elections are held, as they did for the first round of elections. The closure will be effective from Saturday June 18 to Monday June 20. The second and final round of Colombia’s presidential elections are held on Sunday June 19.
The information was released by the Colombian Minister for the Interior Daniel Palacios Martínez. The border will remain closed from 6:00 p.m. on Saturday until 6:00 a.m. on Monday, detailed Palacios Martínez.
Palacios Martínez also indicated that Colombia deployed security forces to protect election day, which will have more than 12,500 voting stations. Over 240,000 members of the Armed Forces and more than 97,000 police officers will be deployed to guard the voting stations.
Hacemos apertura de las elecciones presidenciales en el exterior e instalamos la Mesa de Seguimiento Electoral para todos los consulados, que brinda acompañamiento a embajadores, cónsules y funcionarios encargados en el exterior de acompañar los comicios. #Elecciones2022 pic.twitter.com/bnzFT3l2Bg
— MinInterior Colombia (@MinInterior) June 12, 2022
In addition, more than 20,000 personnel will be deployed to conflict areas where organized armed groups operate that have tried to influence the electoral process.
Colombian residents of Venezuela vote at the border
On Monday morning, Colombians residing in Venezuela began to go to the voting centers located on the border, the procedure in place for all Colombians voting abroad, starting with this year’s presidential race.
Colombia’s President Iván Duque recognized Juan Guaidó when he declared himself president of Venezuela in 2019, effectively severing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
On the border, Colombian authorities set up six polling stations, one of them located next to the Simón Bolívar international bridge that connects Cúcuta, Colombia with San Antonio del Táchira, Venezuela.
At this border crossing, during the first round of the presidential elections, on May 29, numerous incidents were reported. A group of Colombian voters were denied entry by Colombian authorities. Venezuelan authorities attempted to cooperate with their Colombian counterparts, but the security zone was breached by Colombians angered at not being allowed to vote.
At this voting center, at the Simón Bolívar international bridge, 47,732 voters registered in the Colombian consulates of Mérida, Puerto La Cruz, San Cristóbal, Barinas, and San Antonio del Táchira. They will be able to vote only if they have the time and financial resources to make the trip to the border. Many commentators have denounced this procedure as a voter suppression tactic by the Colombian government, worsened by the border-crossing restrictions on election day.
On Sunday, Colombians will determine their next president in a second round election between Gustavo Petro, the candidate for the center-left, and Rodolfo Hernández, a so-called independent candidate, supported by the Colombian oligarchy and the ruling class.
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune