Growing numbers of Venezuelan parents are dumping their children in Colombian border towns as the failed socialist state’s humanitarian crisis continues to deepen.
El Nacional reports that 52 children have been rescued in the Colombian region of Norte de Santander, 22 of whom are without their parents and in need of assistance.
“This crisis that Venezuela is going through leaves us with heartbreaking situations,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on a recent visit to the region. “The director of the institute told us yesterday that there are 22 abandoned children in the street. Their parents do not care. It is a tragedy.”
“That is why, from here, I want to repeat to President Maduro that this is the results of his policies,” he continued. “It is not the fault of the Colombians and it is the result of his refusal to receive humanitarian aid that we have offered in all forms.”
Venezuelan Congressman Sergio Vergara, who represents Táchira state, added that authorities were trying to determine whether the children have relatives who can look after them.
“Without knowing the reasons why the parents would have left them to their fate, we want to know if they have relatives in Venezuela and if there are chances that those relatives will take care of them,” Vergara said.
“At this moment the assistance that Colombia can give them is paramount,” he continued. “However, there is no better place for a child than next to his family. What we want is to secure the situation and to verify who their relatives are so that they take charge of them.”
A total of 2,423 children under the age of five have already been taken into care after fleeing Venezuela, with Colombia agreeing to foot the bill.
“Regardless of the nationality, Colombian or Venezuelan, for all the conventions we sign and agreements we have with neighboring countries, the duty of ICBF is to protect and care for these children,” said Karen Abudinen, director of Lifeline Children’s Services.
The shocking revelations also come amid reports that parents are also abandoning their children at orphanages because they can no longer look after them, although no official statistics are available on the issue.
Thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing to neighboring countries such as Colombia and Brazil every day amid a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that has left millions of people starving, and without basic living necessities. As dictator Nicolás Maduro continues to turn the once prosperous nation into a totalitarian socialist regime, there is little prospect of things improving in the near future.