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The Border Region of North Santander (Colombia)-Táchira (Venezuela): The Border Without Walls

Ana Marleny Bustamante


This article examines the actions of the border population, mainly on the Venezuelan side, acting as a pressure group(s), in response to the unilateral decision of the Colombian government to install tollbooths and levy tolls close to the international bridge linking these two countries. The political response is seen as a reality which contradicts geopolitical visions of conflicting national governmental interests and tendencies of governments to view borders as barriers which impede cooperation, and one which also reveals a functionalist assumption that borders allow and encourage trans-boundary flows. The study conducted was primarily
hemerographic, accompanied by field work. This paper is divided into three parts: the first section presents a geographical and historic perspective of the border region of North Santander-Táchira to demonstrate that borderlanders have become providers of special conditions and commonalities, not found anywhere else along the Colombian and Venezuelan border. The second exposes the developments associated with the "toll conflict" as substantiation of the power of borderlands' political action to frustrate national policies. The third part attempts to discuss the findings and provide explanations.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229