World / Crime & Legal

Violent deaths of Venezuelans in Colombia said on the rise, averaging one a day since year's start

Reuters

An average of one Venezuelan died violently in Colombia each day in the first seven months of 2019, Colombia’s forensic science institute said in a report, a trend that may worsen as immigration increases.

More than 1.4 million Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia in recent years, fleeing a deep political and economic crisis that has caused long-running shortages of food and medicines.

According to a study from the institute, shared with Reuters on Sunday, 233 Venezuelan people were killed between January and July this year, many in incidents involving firearms or knives in areas along the two country’s 2,219-km (1,379-mile) border.

With a population of 48 million, about 25,000 people die violently in Colombia each year.

More than 500 Venezuelans were killed in the country between 2009 and 2018, the report said, but deaths have increased sharply over the past four years and tripled between 2017 and last year.

Twenty-five Venezuelans died violently in Colombia in 2015, 30 in 2016 and 93 in 2017, before climbing to 273 deaths last year.

While the report did not specify the circumstances of the deaths, a source at the national police said many are associated with fights.

The report also recorded 69 suicides of Venezuelans in Colombia between 2009 and 2018. In the first seven months of this year, 18 Venezuelans died by suicide in the country.