Venezuela reported this Wednesday that it will denounce Colombian President Iván Duque, its greatest political enemy, before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the "crime of extermination and persecution" of Venezuelan migrants in their territory.

The announcement was made by Vice President Delcy Rodríguez after the murder of two Venezuelan adolescents in a border region, for which Colombian authorities and the United Nations opened an investigation.

"I want to officially announce, inform the country and the international community, that Venezuela will take Iván Duque before the International Criminal Court for the crime of extermination and persecution (…) against our migrants"Rodríguez said in an address broadcast on government television. "It has become a systematic and massive policy".

The two young men, ages 12 and 18, were shot after being accused of robbing a warehouse in the violent municipality of Tibú, in northeastern Colombia.

In videos and photos disseminated on social networks, teenagers are seen with their heads down and their hands tied forward while an off-camera person accuses them of "little thieves".

Their bodies were later found and their hands were still tied; a cardboard with the word "thieves" written by hand rested on the body of the smallest.

"I hope this crime does not go unpunished", insisted the vice president, who condemned the death of more than 2,000 Venezuelan migrants in Colombia between 2017 and 2021, citing official figures from Colombian Legal Medicine.

In a statement, the Colombian Foreign Ministry condemned the "horrible crime" of the minors and assured that Rodríguez’s statements are "unfounded".

The Colombian police blame dissidents from the ex-guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the murder of the youth, who departed from the peace agreement signed in 2016.

Almost 2 million Venezuelans migrated to Colombia, fleeing the economic crisis. Rodríguez recommended that they return.

"President Nicolás Maduro has extended his hand to you, return to your country (…). We do not want to see our migrants being humiliated, humiliated, persecuted, murdered"he asked.

"Who has promoted this xenophobic consciousness? (…) The Colombian State, Mr. Iván Duque"Maduro later exclaimed in an address broadcast on state television. "It’s a real drama", She complained.

While the Venezuelan government denounces a campaign of xenophobia and hatred in the neighboring country, the Duque government has been internationally applauded for its decision to regularize undocumented Venezuelans.

Venezuela and Colombia, which share a porous border of more than 2,000 km, have not had diplomatic relations since 2019, when Duque recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as president in charge of Venezuela.

Maduro accuses Duque of conspiring and planning attacks against him along with the United States, his other great political enemy.

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