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‘We are in pain for the violation of the Colombians’ human rights’: President Santos

• Dear ambassadors: What we are demanding is respect for human rights, the Head of State said at the Extraordinary Cabinet Council meeting held in the capital of Norte de Santander.

• The attempt to blame Colombia, the Colombian people, for the troubles in Venezuela, “is something that we must vehemently reject”, he stated.

Cúcuta, September 2, 2015 (SIG).

“The reason for which we are deeply in pain and leads us to reject it in every possible manner, is the violation of the fundamental rights, the human rights of our fellow citizens”, President Juan Manuel Santos said this Wednesday during the Extraordinary Cabinet Council meeting held in Cúcuta, referring to the deportation of Colombian citizens from Venezuela.

We reject “the way in which they were expelled, deported, the manner in which they have been treated, how they have been mistreated”, the Head of State emphasized.

The president told the members of the diplomatic corps who attended the Cabinet Council as guests that there are many videos with testimonies from Colombians who have lived this situation.

“You were able to witness, first-hand, the testimonies of the people who are in those shelters: elderly men and women, newborn children, who were kicked out of their houses and massively expelled, massively deported. That is flagrant violation of International Law; it is banned by all conventions”, President Santos underscored.

He explained that the reports are not only a product of the mass media.

In reference to the closing of the border by the Venezuelan Government, he pointed out that “nobody is judging the right of any country, of Venezuela, to deport a person who does not have the documentation to legally reside in its territory. Even if it believes that by closing the border it will solve its problems, it is entitled to it; we are not questioning that”, he said.

“But what we do question, because it is totally unacceptable, and it should be unacceptable for all the countries that believe in the importance of protecting human rights, is the manner in which they have made these deportations, violating all the statutes, all the regulations of International Law”, the president said.

In this regard, he explained that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights explicitly stated that “deportations may not be massive, they may not be arbitrary; they should be managed individually. Every person has a minimum right to due process; that is even contemplated in Venezuelan and international law”, he pointed out.

He also reminded that, according to the Commission, deportations may not affect minors’ rights.

“We have even seen how they have separated children from their parents and separated families, and that is also another flagrant violation of International Law”, the president added.

‘Venezuela’s problems are made in Venezuela’

The president reiterated that Colombia cannot be blamed for the problems Venezuela is facing, as stated by that country’s authorities.

“Venezuela, dear ambassadors, argues that we in Colombia are to be blamed for their internal problems, that smuggling is responsible for the scarcity of basic commodities in the Venezuelan economy. A scarcity that has been growing for quite a long time”, he said.

He added that “Venezuela argues that the price of the dollar, which today, Finance minister, is above 700 in the black market while the official market rate is 6.50, is due to the foreign exchange businesses that operate on this side of the border, which they say are hoarding bolivars and because of that the exchange rate is not reasonable”.

In regard to these topics, the president said that “the whole world is perfectly aware of the fact that the undersupply of products in Venezuela is due to an economic policy that failed outright. That situation is totally unrelated to Colombia, or to the Colombian people; they are problems made in Venezuela”, he emphasized.

President Santos asked that “who could ever believe, as they may even suggest, that the exchange rate or the exchange rate problem is due to foreign exchange businesses in Cúcuta or to Colombia’s monetary policy. That does not make any sense either”.

Finally, he said that trying to blame the Colombian people for the Venezuelan ailments “is something that we must vehemently reject”.