Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Venezuela: Venezuela deports 400 Colombian and Brazilian illegal gold miners

Reuters reports Venezuelan troops deported more than 400 Colombian and Brazilian illegal gold miners to Colombia after expelling them from makeshift camps, Colombian authorities said on Monday.

Venezuela's government had no immediate comment on the incident. But Colombian authorities said 380 Colombians and 45 Brazilians were driven across the frontier in a move the government called a violation of human rights.

"The information they gave us is that it was pressure from the Venezuelans that forced them to return. They are scared and it was fear that made them return," Diego Molano, a presidential social assistance program director, said in a statement.

Authorities said the miners had arrived in the small town of Puerto Inirida, where some were being helped at shelters set up in a school and a local hall.

"This is a clear violation of human rights," said Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, who traveled to the border region where the miners arrived.

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