Mérida, January 28, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)– 31 Colombians, presumed to be paramilitary forces, were detained in the Caracas suburb of Petare, the Venezuelan vice president Ramon Carrizalez announced yesterday.
He said they are investigating the motives of the 31 Colombians' presence. "It is part of an ongoing process that is based on an investigation we have been conducting for some time," he said.
Carrizalez informed that they had seized weapons, grenades and, two kilograms of explosives in the city of Maracay, near Caracas. "The fact that paramilitaries have entered Venezuela isn't a fantasy."
On January 17 six other presumed paramilitaries were detained in Maracay, Aragua state, along with the above-mentioned weapons, and were to be deported back Colombia pending a response from the International Police (Interpol).
"There has been a process of demobilization in Colombia of a large number of paramilitaries who stayed there and many of them are being used to deliver services. The façade they are using is security companies, but in the background it's a problem we're facing and because of this we're conducting ongoing investigations… We haven't determined that these people are paramilitaries but everything indicates that they could be."
In May 2004 the Venezuelan government announced the detention of a group of 130 Colombian paramilitaries, most of them on a large estate owned by opposition leader Roberto Alonso, near Caracas. According to President Hugo Chavez the detainees were training to lead a military uprising and assassinate him.
In 2007 the last of these detainees were pardoned by Chavez and sent to Colombia as a gesture of good faith.