WASHINGTON — Colombia’s new president, Iván Duque, takes office today as hyperinflation in neighboring Venezuela is set this year to hit 1 million percent and thousands of people each day flee across the border from the worsening humanitarian crisis.
The outflow is so great that official numbers are difficult to come by, but it is estimated that about 1 million Venezuelans have come to Colombia in the past 16 months. Many analysts think that is likely a conservative estimate.
Juan Carlos Pinzón, who served as both Colombian minister of defense and ambassador to the United States during the administration of outgoing president Juan Manuel Santos, said Colombia’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is further complicated by a host of other challenges the country is dealing with. He listed immigration, refugees, security, criminal bands, corruption, drug trafficking, illegal mining, and FARC and ELN — the acronyms for two of Colombia’s guerrilla groups — as issues Duque will face, some of these exacerbated by the situation in Venezuela.