Duque’s Bold Gesture for Venezuelan Refugees Could Be Politically Costly

Venezuelans cross the International Simon Bolivar bridge into Colombia, Feb. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).
Venezuelans cross the International Simon Bolivar bridge into Colombia, Feb. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

It’s not often that a large refugee population is given unexpected reason to feel overjoyed. But that’s what happened last week in Colombia, when President Ivan Duque, standing alongside United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, announced that he would allow all Venezuelans living in the country as of Jan. 31 to obtain residency permits for 10 years. Their official status will grant them full rights to work, study, receive health care and enjoy other benefits available to Colombian citizens. The news came as a surprise, particularly because just a few weeks ago Duque had said undocumented Venezuelans would […]

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