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58,000 Colombians in Venezuela Sign Up for Peace Movement

Bogotá, September 22 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Thousands of Colombians living in Venezuela have embraced the call to join a bi-national effort to build peace between Venezuela and Colombia, with 58,800 in the border state of Tachira registering with the group over the weekend.

Juan Carlos Tanus, a human rights activist who works closely with Colombian migrants in Venezuela, told teleSUR Monday that the effort has revealed that while 42 percent of Colombians are naturalized citizens and 10 percent are living with status in Venezuela, 46 percent are “irregular” and two percent are state-less.

Tanus said he was hopeful about progress during Monday's meeting between President Maduro of Venezuela and President Santos of Colombia, but stressed that the problems on the border are “structural” and would require greater effort to resolve.

The Venezuelan government announced Saturday that it would introduce an initiative to create the Bolivarian Movement of Colombians for Peace. The name of the movement comes from independence hero Simon Bolivar, who fought to liberate much of South America and struggled to create a united republic of the various lands he liberated. The effort to re-build the union of South American republics is referred to as Bolivarianism.

Supporters of the initiative organized inscription booths in the main squares in nearly every town and city in the Venezuelan states of Zulia, Tachira, Apure, Miranda, Bolivar, Vargas, Amazonas, and the capital of Caracas. Colombians living in Venezuela were invited to join this political movement aimed at building a healthy relationship between the people of Venezuela and Colombia.

"We'll be registering any and all Colombians who sympathize with Bolivarian thought and have a need to express their desire for a more fruitful relationship, starting with the construction of a new border of peace,” said Jorge Rodriguez, mayor of the Caracas borough of Libertador.

The initiative is backed by candidates running for the Great Patriotic Pole, the ruling electoral coalition in Venezuela. Its candidates are currently taking part in a grassroots voter registration campaign, conducting a door-knocking campaign to encourage people to enroll.
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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