More Deported Colombians getting to Cucuta


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July 23rd 2013
Published: February 19th 2015
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El indio Motilón from these Colombo-Venezuelan nomadic tribesEl indio Motilón from these Colombo-Venezuelan nomadic tribesEl indio Motilón from these Colombo-Venezuelan nomadic tribes

These indigenous people inhabited both Cucuta and Táchira in Venezuela, I wonder if they would´ve been deported too
Dear friends,

Sorry for my delay in writing, but my teaching had me too busy over the past year; here, I am going to tell you about Cucuta, a city which is supposed to be the sixth most important city of our country but that given its current economical situation, it might as well be called Macondo, like the forgotten village in Gabriel García Marquez´s One Hundred Years of Solitude. That´s true, Cucuta has suffered a non very positive transformation -to say the least- due to the current events that are creating both chaos and poverty. What´s certain is that the glorious past of the city belongs to that... the past: big changes here, from offering big businesses opportunities and welcoming its Venezuelan neighbours, the city is undergoing its latest trend: a paradox of deportation which has added to the economical crisis! that´s right, many Cucuteños and those of the rest of the country, having officially become Venezuelan are being altogether deported due to strange changing policies of the president. This has exacerbated the situation since deported citizens must find jobs in a territory that is far from being a self-sufficient economy. Can you imagine? Colombians who have worked for
Estadio General SantanderEstadio General SantanderEstadio General Santander

Cucuta Deportivo, the local football team has taken part in the Colombian football competition since the fifties winning 8 championships
years there, have struggled to apply for and obtained a foreign nationality are out of the blue considered illegal citizens. Between Colombian citizens nationalised and non-nationalised in Venezuela, the figures amount to 600 already. In summation, history is sometimes ungrateful or let´s say, the authorities are; I am glad our liberator Bolivar is not alive or else, he´ll shed tears for what´s left of his Gran Colombia dream.



Qué pena que me he demorado en escribir, pero esa enseñanza me tuvo ocupado durante el año que acaba de pasar; aquí, voy a hablarles de Cúcuta, una ciudad que se supone que es la sexta más importante de nuestro país pero que debido a su situación económica actual, se podría comparar con el Macondo de los Cien Años de Soledad de nuestro Gabriel García Márquez. Es verdad, Cúcuta se ha transformado pero no positivamente -por no ser tan negativos- pues los últimos eventos han creado el caos y la pobreza. Lo que es seguro es que el pasado glorioso de la ciudad quedó ahí... en el pasado. Grandes cambios han habido pues de tener grandes negocios y ser una ciudad que acoge a nuestros vecinos Venezolanos a ser la ciudad que es testigo de la última tendencia para el país: Deportación! Como vemos, la historia es a veces muy ingrata. En verdad, hay un número creciente de deportados Colombianos que, aunque habiendo obtenido la ciudadanía Venezolana, están siendo, de todas maneras, deportados. Esto ha empeorado la situación ya que la ciudad tiene que encontrar formas para ayudar a esos deportados para que encuentren trabajos en un territorio que comercialmente está como desierto. Se pueden imaginar eso? Colombianos que han trabajado durante años en otro país, que han luchado por obtener la nacionalidad del país vecino, son ahora ciudadanos ilegales en ese país hermano. Ya se tienen las cifras precisas de cuantos Colombianos con nacionalidad venezolana y con visa para permanecer allí han sido deportados: 600!.




From commercial hub to almost...


Unbelievable, right? anyway, until that problem is sorted out, Cucuta needs to continue dealing with big figures in unemployment and brace itself for I gather -I am still optimistic as I believe in the Cucuteños´ entrepreneurship- when things become as before, Cucuta will have to continue catering to the Venezuelian community, that´s how it´s been and it will be, you can´t just change history by deporting some new citizens and create conflict in the border, or was Orwell right?



Increíble, verdad? de todas maneras, hasta que se solucione el problema, Cúcuta tiene que continuar afrontando las figuras grandes de desempleo y agarrarse fuerte porque pienso, que -y aquí soy optimista porque creo en los Cucutoches- cuando las cosas vuelvan a ser como antes, Cúcuta continuará satisfaciendo las necesidades de la comunidad Venezolana, así ha sido y así será, no se puede cambiar la historia deportando a algunos ciudadanos y creando conflictos en la frontera, o es que Orwell tenía razón?




A gateway to Venezuela



Cucuta or San José de Cúcuta is meant to be a very important commercial city for the department and the country, the fact that it is located on the boundaries with Venezuela favours the trade between both countries. In the past, you would see tons of Venezuelans -when their currency was strong- shopping in the local shopping centres and taking innumerable amounts of goods back to their country. It is true, Cúcuta has for decades supplied people from Venezuela their goods but unfortunately, at present, the bad consequences of the current Venezuelan situation affect the life of the Cucuteños.



Cúcuta, o San José de Cúcuta es una ciudad de carácter comercial muy importante no solo del departamento sino del país. El hecho de que está situada en la frontera con Venezuela favorece el comercio entre los dos países. En el pasado, se veían a muchos Venezolanos -cuando su moneda era fuerte- de compras en los centros comerciales locales y llevándose innumerables cantidades de productos para su país. Es verdad, Cúcuta ha durante décadas abastecido a los Venezolanos, pero desafortunadamente, ahora, las graves consecuencias de la situación Venezolana afecta la vida de los Cucuteños.



History has it that some of the industries that are now productive in Bucaramanga started in Cucuta first, take the shoe industry for example, "La Quince" in Bucaramanga is full of shoe industries that were start-ups in the Nortesantanderean capital. Ever since, Cucuta seems to have become too arid for entrepreneurs to think of building factories there. Added to this, the low exchange of the Venezuelan currency worsened the situation: One bolivar was worth about 18 pesos in its best age, now, it is the equivalent of 50 cents. As a result, even if they wanted to come to buy stuff here, just the mere travel would be far too costly for them now. And yet, given the rationing of products, few Venezuelan find ways to do it, though; their great effort is understandable: at times, due to current restrictions, the essential goods are impossible to be found there. The system works like this, one week, it is decided that there won´t be any milk to be sold so they take it out of supermarkets, then suddenly, a microphone announces that they would be providing milk at x supermarket, you have tons of people queuing and having their fingers printed so that they do not acquire the product twice, that´s the latest government measure to control the purchasing. So, in times of rationing, Venezuelans have no choice but find their ways to come to Cucuta and buy products here but other than than, you cannot forecast their visits in the near future.



Cuenta la historia que algunas de las industrias que son ahora productivas en Bucaramanga las empezaron en Cúcuta primero, por ejemplo la industria de zapatos, en la Quince de Bucaramanga, parece que hay varias
Catedral de San JoséCatedral de San JoséCatedral de San José

Beautiful cathedral, great heritage
empresas que dieron sus primeros pasos en Cúcuta. Desde entonces, la ciudad parece no haber logrado cautivar a los empresarios como para convencerlos de montar fábricas aquí. El bajo cambio de la moneda Venezolana ha empeorado igualmente la situación, un bolívar que valía 18 pesos Colombianos, ahora vale algo así como 50 centavos. En consecuencia, incluso si quisieran venir a Cúcuta de compras como antes, se defraudarían ya que el solo costo de viajar aquí resulta costoso para ellos ahora. Y sin embargo, la necesidad los hace encontrar maneras de viajar, lo que se entiende pues debido a las restricciones actuales, muchos productos de primera necesidad no se pueden adquirir allá. El sistema funciona de esta manera: deciden que van a racionar la leche, por ejemplo, se quita de los supermercados y luego, de repente, un micrófono anuncia que van a venderla; así, cantidades grandes de gente corren a hacer cola y a dejar las huellas digitales, que es la nueva forma del gobierno para evitar que la gente se doble. Así que en tiempos de racionamiento, los Venezolanos no tienen elección, vienen a Cúcuta a comprar su anhelado producto, pero aparte de eso, no se puede predecir el número de visitas en el futuro. Esto se entiende, la moneda Venezolana



I know it is too easy to think of solutions when you are not the mayor but seriously, something needs to be done and soon, and it is not me who states this; the present situation is being called Economical Emergency by local newspapers. But just imagine all those shops owners suffering losses, what´s left for them? to close down and add to the numbers of jobless people.



Sé que no es fácil para los alcaldes encontrar soluciones pero seriamente, algo tiene que hacerse y pronto, y no soy yo el que lo dice; los diarios locales han llamado a esta situación Emergencia Económica. Pero imagínense, todos esos almacenes sufriendo pérdidas han tenido que cerrar y en consecuencia, gran cantidad de desempleados se unen entonces a la agenda de problemas.




Education...neither



Another field where the government has to act and soon is on education. In spite of having some very good schools -notably Colegio Salesiano, Sagrado Corazón de Jesús and Calasanz, which I visited lately- unfortunately, a great many kids do not go to school nowadays, let´s hope that if authorities do not act, Shakira might think of building a school here so that a great number of kids can have access to education. I wonder whether basic education should be more important than the current concern of bilingual education in the country, well, let´s hope that the ministry of education think about it, no more cutbacks on education, please... Or maybe it is just on the pipeline... well, it might be contagious, just like my procrastination, I refer to my wish of going back to university, it seems that that bookworm attitude of mine has disappeared, and as a result, I fear has me thinking that life is passing me by, let´s hope that the same does´t happen to our Cucuta´s kids.



Otra área en la que el gobierno tiene que actuar y pronto es en la educación. A pesar de que Cúcuta tiene muy buenos colegios, notablemente el Salesiano, el Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y el Calasanz, desafortunadamente, muchos niños Cucuteños no van al colegio hoy en día, esperemos que si las autoridades no lo hacen, Shakira piense en construir una escuela en este rincón de Colombia para que un gran número de niños puedan tener acceso a la educación; me pregunto si la educación básica no debería primar sobre la preocupación incesante ahora de la educación bilingüe, como que es fácil identificar la prioridad, ya no más recortes en educación, por favor... o talvez, me esté yo preocupando sin causa y sea este un proyecto--- bien, o debe de ser talvez que este sentimiento es contagioso, puede ser que hayan pensado en eso pero nada de nada; justo como mi deseo de volver a la universidad, el tiempo pasa y esa mentalidad de estudioso que tenía como que se me está acabando, esperemos que no pase lo mismo como con la educación de los Cucuteños.



Tourism? Well...




Cucuta is not the right place to go sightseeing as it does not have very many interesting landmarks, or at least, they have to make them appealing first: in fact, most visitors to the city have more crossing-the-border reasons than holidays. If Cucuta were to promote tourism for visitors, it would definitely have to start with the history of Villa del Rosario, its colonial buildings will be the first to offer; as a matter of fact, Santander´s life needs to be studied as he was a Colombian president and one of the main fighters in our independence struggle; his house is there to be visited and admired, the buildings where many vital events for Colombia took place will be a must for travellers.



Cúcuta no es el lugar para venir de turistas ya que no tiene muchos lugares muy interesantes para visitar., o al menos, hay que hacerlos interesantes primero. En realidad, la mayoría de visitante tienen más razones de cruce de frontera que partir de vacaciones a la ciudad. Si Cúcuta fuera a promocionar el turismo para los visitantes, tendría que empezar con la histórica Villa del Rosario, sus edificios coloniales serían lo primero para ver; de hecho, la vida del general Santander sobresale en el itinerario, un recorrido en la vida de este antiguo presidente de Colombia y uno de los principales gestores de nuestra independencia; su casa, los edificios donde sucedieron hechos que marcaron la historia de Colombia están allí para ser admirados.




A bit of history



Historically -as I put it down before- the city has been an unforgettable venue for some of Colombia´s most affecting events; in fact, it was in Cucuta where the idea of having the Constitution de Cúcuta that founded La Gran Colombia was triggered. Yeah, Bolivar´s innovative thought of wanting to unite great nations into one was signed here; the idea of having Ecuador, Venezuela, Panamá and Colombia as a whole nation was the source of our liberator Bolivar´s dreams. The visitor can see the landmarks that remind us of those very cherished moments, places like Villa del Rosario will offer a nice walk into history. It was here too that the Admirable campaign resulting in the independence of Venezuela actually took place.



Históricamente, la ciudad ha sido un lugar bastante notable para diversos eventos de gran importancia. De hecho, fue en Cúcuta donde surgió la idea de la Constitución de Cúcuta que originó la Gran Colombia. si, ese pensamiento bolivariano que intentaba unir a varias naciones en una sola fue plasmado en un decreto firmado aquí, en eso se concretaba los sueños de Bolívar: Ecuador, Venezuela, Panamá y Colombia como una sola nación. Es por ello que, el visitante puede ver estos lugares reminiscentes de esos tan añorados momentos, lugares como Villa del Rosario les ofrece, entonces, una caminata agradable por los caminos de esa historia. Fue aquí también que la admirable campaña que resultó en la independencia de Venezuela tuvo lugar.



We need also to remember that due to the big earthquake which took place in 1875, the city and some neighbouring Venezuelan villages were totally demolished. Looking back, in those days, Venezuelans and Colombians would help each other on the reconstruction of villages but unfortunately, life has changed so much and apparently, there is so much hatred now jeopardising the lives of both Colombians and Venezuelians living near the border. That was all sort of foretold in Animal Farm and now, as I said before, we have the consequences.



También debemos recordar que debido a este gran terremoto de 1875 que la ciudad, así como algunas localidades vecinas de Venezuela fueron demolidos totalmente. Mirando hacia atrás, se da uno cuenta que en esos días, los Venezolanos y Colombianos se ayudaban mutuamente para la reconstrucción de sus localidades, pero desafortunadamente, la vida ha cambiado demasiado, tanto que ahora lo que se ve es odio que perjudica las vidas de tantos Colombianos y Venezolanos que viven cerca a la frontera. Todo parece haber sido escrito en la Granja Animal, y ahora, como lo dije anteriormente, vivimos las consecuencias.




The hot weather does not add to it

El clima caliente no ayuda



The lack of a nice breeze exacerbates the hot weather conditions. Sometimes, it seems that walking there is good for those who want to be heat radiators, hehehehe, that is true and then in the evenings, you experience problems when sleeping as if the sun continued to boil while you sleep. A good treat available to you is the Malecón, where, unsurprisingly, you meet lots of people as they actually want to escape from the heat and there you go, contemplate the Pamplonita river and some green areas, people doing sport, the pleasant walk while listening the loud music from people´s cars, you can´t escape it. This is the favourite venue for Cucuteños as you find lots of fast food restaurants, clubs, places for recreation and it is nicely decorated during Christmas festivities.



La falta de una brisa agradable como que empeora las condiciones del tiempo. Algunas veces, pareciera como que caminar allí sólo es bueno para los que se quieran convertir en radiadores, jajajaja, es verdad, y en las noches, empiezas a dar vueltas en esa cama pues pareciera que el siguiera calentando mientras que duermes. Algo que es como un buen premio es el Malecón, donde, como es de esperar, puedes encontrar a mucha gente que también quieren esperar de ese calorsote que hace. Allí, puedes contemplar el Río Pamplonita, ver gente haciendo deporte, la agradable caminata sin escaparse de la música "a toda" de los carros allí parqueados. Este es el lugar preferido de esparcimiento para los Cucuteños pues se encuentra gran cantidad de restaurantes de comida rápida, clubes y lugares para recreación y está muy bien decorado durante las fiestas navideñas.



Shopping Malls



As in every important city, there are some shopping malls selling good stuff and that´s where people hang out too. The most important one is Unicentro, then Ventura Plaza, which is considered to be the biggest one and more to the centre of town, and if you want to buy technology stuff, the Gran Boulevard located in the O Avenue.

Como en cada ciudad que se respete, hay algunos centros comerciales donde puedes encontrar buenos productos y allí es donde la gente se la lleva. Unicentro es el más importante, luego está el más grande que es el Ventura Plaza, localizado más hacia el centro, y si lo que quiere es comprar tecnología, entonces tiene que ir al Gran Boulevar en la Avenida 0.



The bus station, kind of chaotic



As for getting to Cucuta's terminal, I hate it when the middlemen come to you as soon as you get off a taxi, they wanna grab your suitcases and take you to their company as they get a commission for this. For example if the ticket costs 30,000 they will charge you 35,000 and they get 5,000 pesos. don't get me wrong, I agree that everyone needs to work but this is one of the ocassions when I feel swindled and get very angry. So, at the beginning, I was sort of shy letting them do me, in a way, but now, I sort of avoid them, either walking very fast or telling them I am going somewhere else. It might happen to you, so it is for you to decide what to do, I prefer to lie rather than having the gust to reprimand them or shout at them as other people do. In airports, it is obviously different.



En relación a la llegada al terminal de Cúcuta, no me gusta cuando te caen como chulos para que cojas el bus o el taxi que ellos quieren. la gente quisiera cogerte las maletas y llevarte a la compañía en la que se ganarán cierta comisión. Por ejemplo, si el tiquete cuesta 30.000 pesos, ellos te piden 35.000 para ganarse sus 5.000 pesos. Y no me entiendan mal, estoy de acuerdo con que todos trabajemos pero la manera como lo hacen, me traslada a China y me hace enojarme. AL principio, yo los dejaba que cogieran la maleta, pero ahora, ya camino rápido o les digo con autoridad que voy hacia un lugar diferente. Así que si les pasa a ustedes, tienen la elección, yo prefiero mentirles para no tener que gritarlos como he visto con otros pasajeros. En avión si es completamente diferente 😊



Anyway, when it comes to local transport, this becomes like China, as you can haggle over the price of the ticket. Taxis are okay but a 6-hour trip, Cucuta to Bucaramanga, where I live, without being able to rest your head is a bit uncomfortable for me, so I prefer the big buses, Berlinas or Copetran as you have plenty of legroom, normally these vans would charge you the full price (41,000) during the peak season, or else, they accept like 25,000 and for what I have seen, the drivers and assistants share their money as you are not registered in their passengers' form. I wonder what would happen if there is an accident, since you are not registered as a passenger, I don´t think you can claim anything afterwards.



De todas maneras, cuando se habla de transporte local, Cucuta se vuelve China, pues puedes negociar todo precio de tiquete. Los taxis me gustan pero para viajar 6 horas de Cucuta a Bucaramanga, donde vivo sin poder descansar la cabeza es muy incómodo, así que cuando no me lleva mi hermana y cuña, prefiero viajar en los buses grandes, Berlinas o Copetrán pues ahí si tienes espacio para estirar las piernas. Estos buses le piden 41.000 pesos durante temporada alta, si no te llevan por 25.000 pesos, y por lo que he visto, los choferes y ayudantes se quedan con esa plata porque no te planilla. Me pregunto lo que pasa si ocurre un accidente, pues al no estar registrado, no creo que tengas derecho a reclamar nada.



Taking a rest from examining



I am now at the hotel studying English so that one day I can continue reaping the benefits of the time I invest. They say that you can never tell that you´re done with the study of a language and I guess they are right for the more you study a subject, the more you realise you know nothing. Thanks to the exams, I have stayed at Atlantis Hotel and Casino Internacional which are decent hotels to stay in. In the afternoon, i am heading to my sister´s surgery for a lovely treatment, she is a great fisiotherapist, thanks God.

Estoy ahora en el hotel estudiando Inglés para que un día pueda continuar cosechando los beneficios del tiempo que invierto. La gente dice que uno nunca puede decir que ha terminado de estudiar una lengua debido a su complejidad y creo que tienen razón, entre más estudias, más te das cuenta que tu inglés es malo 😊 Gracias a los exámenes, me he quedado en el hotel Atlantis y el Casino internacional que son lugares decentes para quedarse. Y en la tarde, me voy para el consultorio de mi hermana para un gran tratamiento, menos mal que nos salió una super fisioterapeuta.



Okay, just to finish on a different note...



I am at the moment a bit tired of the Royal's news of their heir to the trone, as it goes, "we're here and nothing happens, we're there and nothing happens"and then the interview goes for different journalists from different countries, Although I have always been an admirer of British Royalty, I think this time the world's news have overdone it as I think we had enough of the new heir's birth. the only thing I liked is that through the BBC I have had the chance to listen to my old classmate from RCN being interviewed in English, great, happy to see you, Juan Carlos

Well, this explains why I thought it would be a better idea to start writing about the capital city in my beautiful department of Santander where things really need to happen and SOON. Meanwhile, Villa del Rosario is there for you to take a lesson in Cucuta´s city if you wish to.


Additional photos below
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A gift party we are used to throwing every year in September


22nd February 2015

Hey Frank!!
Good to see you back on the road, at least a little bit! Cucuta is another area of Colombia I have not been to yet, but as I said I will be returning (Hopefully to live) in September so the facts and info you gave was great! I am surprised though that more Venezuelans are not crossing the border to shop for the items the are a necessity and often out of stock in Venezuelan Gov't run markets. Maybe it's illegal to do that on Maduro's watch, but hopefully it gets better as I loved the protests and the people, especially the younger crowd, standing up for their rights and freedoms! My experiences in Colombia talking with friends I have there and just random store owners who often invited me for nightly Aguardiente and chatting lol, is that Colombians in General have grown further and further away from Venezuelans in the past decade mostly because of the regimes that were in place and are in place at the present time, but Colombians in general do not dislike Venezuelans just the hierarchy that leads them and the political policies that are made. Anyways as usual great blog buddy! Hope all is well and we will definitely get a beer or 3 when I get there!! Thanks for all your help with the teaching info as well! Much appreciated! --Buen Viaje! Greg
24th February 2015

Hey Greg!
Yeah, me the procrastinator! yeah, it is a big deal, let´s hope that the situation changes as I feel very sorry for our Venezuelan brothers, and obviously Cucuta is suffering the consequences. Yeah, definitely, 3 beers even 4 :)
22nd February 2015
IMG_2407

BOOOOO!
Era gol de Yepes contra Brazil! haha!!
24th February 2015
IMG_2407

BOOOOOO!
Oh, Definitely, yes,, GOL DE YEPES, but hey, they don´t seem to believe in us just yet, maybe in 3 years´time, as we have more footballers abroad, it is high time they use fair play as they preach...
22nd February 2015

Columbia
You have not blogged in a while. Every blog you write our must see list gets a bit longer. You really do a nice job of introducing us to Columbia. Can't wait to get there and sample the foods.
24th February 2015

Colombia
Hey, Dave and Merry, thanks for your message, yeah, I am the one to blame for not writing for so long but guess what? I am now taking some time off work, so even though I´ll have less money, I´ll have more time to write :) good greetings!!!
25th February 2015
IMG_2407

definitely!
I will be arriving at a great time as the world cup qualifying for Russia 2018 will begin in October! I want to go to a Colombian match for sure!!!!
26th February 2015
IMG_2407

Definitely!
Colombia, Colombia, you´ll be stunned by the force of our people, everything stops when we have a match, hehehehe
25th February 2015

DEFINITELY 4 or...
Let's just get some Aguardiente! GAWWWD I cannot wait to get back there! I miss it so much! 201 days and counting!! Enjoy the time away from the classroom always a great luxury, as a fellow teacher I know! Dave and Merry are definitely correct you always write really nice blogs packed with information!! Keep up the great work! See you soon buddy! --Greg
26th February 2015

Definitely 4 or...
I am sure you´ll enjoy it. Thanks, now that you mention it, I admire Dave and Merry´s tenacity as well as yours, you write so many blogs, congratulations!

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