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Colombia: Borders to close ahead of June 17 elections /update 2

Colombia’s land and maritime borders to be closed beginning June 14, ahead of June 17 presidential run-off; flights not affected

13 Jun 12:21 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 6/13/2018, 12:00 AM until 6/18/2018, 11:59 PM (America/Bogota). COUNTRY/REGION Caribbean coast, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Northern Venezuela
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Event

Colombians will go to the polls on Sunday, June 17, to vote in the second round of presidential elections. Ivan Duque of the right-wing Centro Democrático party will face off against Gustavo Petro of the left-wing Movimiento Progresistas. Polling suggests Duque will be the front-runner.

Political demonstrations may take place ahead of the vote as well as after the release of the election results. Heightened security measures are to be anticipated in the vicinity of polling stations on election day. Political violence (assassinations, attacks on electoral officials or polling stations) is possible, notably in areas plagued by organized crime. The ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) guerrilla group has pledged to carry out a unilateral ceasefire June 15-19; however, the country’s other armed groups have not made any such promises.

Colombia’s land and maritime borders will be closed ahead of the election, as is customary. Borders with Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil will be closed from 00:01 (local time) on June 16 until 16:00 on July 17, coinciding with the scheduled closure of polling stations. Border crossings with Venezuela will be closed for a longer period, from 00:01 on June 14 until 23:59 on July 17. Extra immigration agents will be on duty once borders reopen to avoid major delays; however, longer-than-normal processing times are likely. International flights will continue to operate as normal.

Context

The prolonged closure along the Venezuelan border is due to the massive daily influx of Venezuelans crossing the border to buy goods that are unavailable in their home country, suffering from an economic breakdown, and the increased presence of criminal groups in the border region.

Advice

Individuals are advised to plan travel to and from Colombia accordingly, avoid political events and polling stations as a precaution, and adhere to all local regulations. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including organized crime groups, drug cartels, right-wing militias, and local gangs in addition to the ELN - many Western governments advise against travel to various regions of the country (particularly rural zones).

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