One million Venezuelan emigrants will be able to regularize their situation in Colombia. Iván Duque took a measure that will not go down very well among a large part of his compatriots, in times of shortage of vaccines against Covid-19 and of deep economic crisis due to the pandemic that has triggered the unemployment figures. But it responds to the determination that he adopted from the first day of his government to cut relations with the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, lead the fight for the return to democracy in the neighboring country, and extend a hand to the 1,729,000 citizens of Venezuela who crossed.

The border escaping from repression and misery, according to Migracion Colombia. Of these, more than 966,000, corresponding to 56 percent, are illegal; the rest are formalized and have access to health and education, basic subsidies, and formal employment.The Statute of Temporary Protection for Venezuelan Migrants, which now comes into force for all those who entered Colombian soil before January 31, will be valid for ten years. After that time, they will be able to process the resident visa.

And although in his nation it will be a decision that generates controversy for the aforementioned reasons, abroad and among international organizations it received great support. It should be noted that Peru, for example, sent military troops to the border to stop the entry of Venezuelans, concerned about the spread of the pandemic. The new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, applauded the move that different voices considered “historic.”

Juan Guaido, interim president for some countries, Venezuelan opposition leader, for others, expressed his gratitude to “President Ivan Duque, for ratifying his determination and commitment to confront the dictatorship and help our people.” In the same vein, prominent exiles living in Spain such as Leopoldo López or Antonio Ledesma spoke.

They treat Venezuelans like pariahs, blame them for our insecurity, which is endemic and centuries-old, and exclude them from vaccines. But as elections are coming, Duque offers them nationality. The same did Chavez, Colombian cedula to ensure a vote. More and more Castro-Chavistas, “wrote Senator Gustavo Bolívar, of the far-left populist party Colombia Humana, on his social networks.

However, it is not true that they will be able to vote in the presidential elections of 2022, which will be close and in which Bolivar’s political formation has a serious chance of obtaining a good result. Under a 2006 law, not only Venezuelans but also foreigners residing in the emerald green nation have the right to vote but only in local elections. Therefore, the new Statute does not expand something that already existed.

As for the vaccines, which in Colombia will begin to inject on February 20, starting with the first-line health personnel, Venezuelans who had their papers in order were already included in the forecasts. And, according to government sources, the government will make a greater effort to acquire enough numbers to cover the emigrants who benefit from the Statute. It should be noted that the vast majority are young people and children, very few belong to the population that they have considered a priority.Likewise, the Duque Administration has indicated that a good part of the funds necessary to attend to some emigrants who walk hundreds of kilometers from their places of origin, with no money in their pockets, will come from international organizations and cooperation from donor nations.