Venezuela: refugee crisis tests Colombia’s stability

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With the exodus set to continue, the strains on Bogotá and other governments are set to intensify

Michael Stott in Maicao and Gideon Long in Bogotá

The chaos spreading into Colombia from Venezuela is unmistakable on the crowded highway that spans the countries’ 2,200km border. On the Venezuelan side pick-up trucks crammed with entire families jostle for position as cars try to weave through the traffic. Motorcycle riders line up in the heat waiting for passengers. Roadside vendors hawk plastic bottles filled with contraband gasoline. Litter is strewn everywhere.

“If there were a hell on earth, it would look like Paraguachón,” says an aid worker, gesturing towards the heaving mass of people and vehicles streaming across the border.