The Venezuelan government launched a citizen’s registration initiative on Saturday, which aims to combat xenophobic sentiment towards Colombian nationals living in Venezuela.
The registration process, which was carried out in seven states throughout the country, seeks to improve communication between Caracas and Colombian nationals in efforts to provide greater support to Colombians living in Venezuelan territory.
“We want to show that we have no type of xenophobia and that also we want to conduct a census in order to help Colombians who are living in Venezuela,” Said Tachira state governor Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora.
The new program forms part of Venezuela’s border domestic policy objectives, which seeks to promote greater inclusivity and integration among Colombian nationals into Venezuelan society.
“We are going to register Colombians, who identify as Bolivarian and feel the need to cultivate a more fruitful relationship through the construction of a new border of peace,” Venezuelan Mayor Jorge Rodriguez stated on Saturday.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s, “New Border of Peace” initiative, which was launched earlier this month, seeks to ensure stability through public consultation sessions with residents living near its shared border with Colombia.
Maduro will be participating in a face-to-face meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in in Quito this Monday in a bid to resolve the two neighbors’ tense border standoff, which has seen Venezuela close off sections of the 1400 mile frontier as part of ongoing efforts to combat paramilitarism and smuggling.
In the leadup to the meeting, Maduro has called on his Colombian counterpart to take action against drug-trafficking, particularly in light of Thursday’s downing of a Venezuelan fighter jet tasked with combatting paramilitaries and drug smugglers.
Original article published by TeleSUR English. Additional reporting by Venezuelanalysis.com.