Why is it urgent to build bridges with Maduro in full progress of the Coronavirus?
One of the most fragile points that Colombia has at the moment in its fight against the spread of the Coronavirus is the border with Venezuela.
Former President Andrés Pastrana has already warned that it is necessary to establish bridges with Nicolás Maduro and seek joint measures. Experts agree with that position.
The imminent spread of Coronavirus in the region has forced to change many of the political lines that governments had at the beginning of their mandates. In the case of Colombia, it is urgent to take charge of the situation on the border with Venezuela, since its porosity and constant activity make it a supremely vulnerable point.
Former President Andrés Pastrana, who has been a faithful defender of the region’s diplomatic encirclement against Maduro, today made a change in his position. It warned that it is essential to build bridges as soon as possible with the Venezuelan president to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. The exmandatario affirmed that his new position is not about opportunism, but a necessity: “We have to take joint measures. If Nicolás Maduro detests someone, it is me, if I detest someone, it is Maduro.”
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The fact is that neither of the two countries is fully prepared to deal with a health crisis of these dimensions. For Mauricio Jaramillo, professor at the Universidad del Rosario, both governments must sit down to speak for two central reasons: “Firstly, because there is excellent precariousness in Venezuela and because there is a health system that collapsed a long time ago. , there is a migratory pressure that is causing more and more damage in the migratory zone. If there is no concerted action with Venezuela to join and reach a joint strategy on the border, there will be more and more people trying to leave Venezuela and reach Colombia desperately, “he assures this newspaper.
His views on the Venezuelan health system are consistent with the views of the Venezuelan Red Cross. Luis Farías, the organisation’s director of communications, told The viewer: “The health system is affected, so we launched an appeal last year, and aid is still not enough. The country needs more, there is a lack of basic medicines and that would complicate the arrival of this disease. We in the communities in which we work have days to prevent disease transmission, hygiene and water management.”
According to the NGO Doctors for Health, which since 2014 reports on the conditions of more than one hundred health centres in Venezuela, at the end of 2019 the shortage of medicines, the failure of public services and equipment continued in the leading hospitals from the country. In the most recent National Hospital Survey, delivered in September 2019, “the shortage was 50%.”
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Jaramillo, furthermore, assures that if sitting down to dialogue, the balance would be more than favourable for both countries: “The Colombian government would gain room for manoeuvre to attack the crisis as it is challenging having such a porous border to attack the Coronavirus without taking coordinated actions with Venezuela. You lose a little pride, you betray if you want a government promise, but it seems to me that it is a relative defeat. I think the government is facing a historic opportunity, Duque has the perfect excuse to tell the Center Democratic: “There is nothing to do, I have to speak to Maduro.” Thus, the most extreme of the party could not accuse him of being a traitor or of having done what in his opinion Santos did with Uribe. ”
For its part, Venezuela has little or nothing to lose, due to its weak health infrastructure. On the contrary, for the professor “he gains legitimacy, room for manoeuvre over the disease and most likely is going to attract attention for a request for money, which is what can come out after this situation.”
* We are responsibly covering this pandemic, part of that is to leave without restriction all the content on the subject that you can consult in the special on Coronavirus.