Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor

Leo Zaibert


Venezuela, Colombia, prevention through deterrence, international law, COVID-19, right of return, human rights violations, migration, Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro.


This thesis analyses the human rights implications of the measures taken by the Venezuelan government at the Venezuelan-Colombian border during the COVID-19 pandemic. I will argue that the goal of these measures is preventing or impeding the return of citizens through "deterrence techniques" that have been historically used by other countries. This case's importance relies on the fact that, unlike other cases, the Venezuelan government uses these "techniques" against its own nationals, rather than against unwanted immigrants. The first chapter will provide an overview of the theoretical framework concerning migration, arguments regarding open borders, and human rights protections. This will allow me to consider internationally established definitions, principles, and agreements, both in customary and conventional law, in the analysis of the Venezuelan case. The second chapter will describe the pre-existent waves of emigration in Venezuela, the current situation, and the international response to the on-going crisis, which will explain underlying causes of current migration movements. The third chapter will discuss the impact of COVID-19 in Colombia and Venezuela and the measures taken by each government, including a comparison between the declared states of emergency. Different factors like access to health services, working conditions, xenophobia, and discrimination, will be an important component as I highlight the erosion of migrants’ rights and raise concerns regarding potential human rights violations. In the fourth chapter I will examine the Venezuelan response to returnees and compare Maduro's government's questionable measures to traditional “prevention through deterrence” strategies, highlighting the deleterious human rights effects of the former.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.