Press Leopoldo López (Madrid, 10.02.21). – The political leader, Leopoldo López, thanked the Government of Colombia for the approval of the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants which allows them to regularize their status through their identification and grants a temporary protection permit for 10 years, during which time they will also be able to acquire a resident visa.

Almost 60% of Venezuelans in Colombian territory are in an irregular situation, reason for which Leopoldo López expressed his gratitude on behalf of all: “We Venezuelans are deeply grateful to the Colombian Government for granting temporary protection to more than 1.7 million of our brothers who went to Colombia fleeing the deep humanitarian crisis caused by the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro”.

López emphasized the importance that Venezuelans, who fled the country in conditions of extreme vulnerability, now have well-deserved protection. “I was in Colombia in December and what struck me most was the visit to Cúcuta. Thousands of Venezuelans were there clamoring for immigration status. We met with NGOs that work on a daily basis with the most vulnerable migrants and their concern was, precisely, to regularize these Venezuelans in order to remove from illegality those tens of thousands of people who were crossing the border without documents, without the possibility of having access to the formal labor market, This made them fall into the clutches of irregular groups of all kinds, ranging from paramilitaries and guerrillas, but also prostitution, white slavery and various illegal structures that had Venezuelan migrants as an easy target because of their vulnerability, not having a status to protect them. Now this helps them to stabilize and have greater control over this situation which, unfortunately, will not change until there is a political change in Venezuela”, he assured.

López also highlighted the position taken by the government of President Duque as “An example that I hope can be heard and understood by the rest of Latin American countries and I believe that Colombia is putting itself at the forefront, even in the United States and Europe, in terms of migration, in a way that respects human rights and the dignity of migrants and also respects the country that receives them”.

Simultaneous sanctioning of human rights violators in Venezuela

Leopoldo López reiterated the need for international support, both to face the humanitarian crisis suffered by Venezuelans and to achieve free elections in the country. “The origin of the Venezuelan migratory crisis is not a war conflict, nor a natural disaster, it is a crisis created by a corrupt and criminal dictatorship, which has generated that millions of Venezuelans have had to leave the country and that is why it is essential to maintain pressure to build a path towards free, fair and verifiable presidential and parliamentary elections in Venezuela”, he said.

According to López, such international support would consist in sanctioning those identified as human rights violators in Venezuela. “A very clear message would be a simultaneous sanction between the U.S. and Europe, against those who order and those who execute these human rights violations. At this moment, there are more than 350 Venezuelan political prisoners and there are people who are being tortured and persecuted by the regime of Nicolás Maduro.”

Finally, the political leader reiterated that the serious crisis the country is going through is not ideological: “There is no more elementary commitment than the commitment to freedom and human rights and that is why we are working to unify a strategy, both inside and outside Venezuela, to achieve the goal of free, fair and verifiable elections in Venezuela; and for that we ask for the support of all countries, because this is not an ideological issue, because to have an ideological position on a public policy you must first have freedom”.