This is how the mayor of the city of Cúcuta, Colombia, the main passage for illegal immigrants from Venezuela to the United States, stated his intention to deal with criminals.

Mayor Jorge Acevedo of Cúcuta has unveiled a particular proposal to address the insecurity that has plagued the capital of Norte de Santander for years.

The proposal, which involves the collaboration of local entrepreneurs, themselves victims of crime, aims to seek resources privately to pay for a lawyer to defend individuals involved in cases of legitimate self-defense.

He clarified that this initiative would not involve the use of public funds, but would be financially supported by four major entrepreneurs who endorse the idea.

«I want to send a message to all the people of Cúcuta. Last week, I met with a group of entrepreneurs from the city of Cúcuta, and we are willing to allocate private resources to pay for lawyers in case they have any problems with a criminal and have to defend themselves by their own hands,» said Acevedo at a public event alongside citizens who agreed with the proposal.

He added, «They can count on the mayor, on the security secretary. It’s time for them to feel insecure in Cúcuta, and this happens because I’m from La Cabrera, because I know the problems we face, because nearby we have criminal gangs, drug dens, and because I know what it’s like to grow up in these neighborhoods and sectors.»

Acevedo also emphasized that «I will not govern based on statistics, which sometimes show results contrary to what the citizens feel and experience. I will not betray the wishes of the people who voted for me; I was chosen to restore security in Cúcuta. I won’t budge an inch in front of criminals.»

The border city faces significant security challenges, exacerbated by the presence of 25 criminal gangs and four transnational groups, along with a complex migration issue. In fact, according to Acevedo, 28% of the population of Cúcuta, which amounts to about 220,000 migrants, are people from other countries, adding an additional layer of complexity to the security situation in the region.

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