Antony Blinken: "Bogotá is a role model in how to respond to migratory flows"

Antony Blinken: Bogotá, role model for response to migration Photo: Mayor's Office of Bogotá
Mayor Claudia López and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the CAD SuperCADE Intégrate Center.

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As part of an international tour of Latin America, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the CAD Supercade in Bogotá to learn about the Intégrate strategy, an initiative for the social, economic, and cultural integration of new Bogotá residents.

The event was attended by Mayor Claudia López, who was joined by the director of USAID in Colombia, Anupama Rajaraman, and the vice president of the Venezolanos en Barranquilla organization, Carlos Viloria.

During the event, the Mayor showed in detail the work model of the Intégrate centers that are part of the CADE network. They function under a social integration model promoted by the District and that is focused on offering social, economic, and cultural services to the migrant population or "new Bogotanos".

Below is a tweet in which Mayor Claudia López thanks the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken for his visit to one of the nine Intégrate Centers that Bogotá has set up for the new Bogotá citizens:



Under the one-stop-shop modality, the Intégrate centers aim to facilitate migrants' access to services such as biometric registration, delivery of identity documents, and enrollment for the Temporary Protection Permit (PPT, as per the acronym in Spanish).

Regarding this initiative, Mayor López stated that it is an important shared effort to serve the people that has been made with the support of the U.S. government through USAID. "Not only have we helped with services such as registration, PPTs, and identification documents, now the next step is not only legal inclusion, but also labor and social inclusion," she emphasized.

For his part, Juan Carlos Viloria spoke to the North American guest, explaining to him the current situation regarding the arrival of Venezuelan migrant citizens in Bogotá and the importance of the efforts made by the District Administration to ensure their integration. 

Bogotá is home to 500,000 Venezuelans, representing more than 20% of the estimated total Venezuelan population in Colombia. Eighty-eight percent of those in the city intend to stay. The District's strategies aim to reinforce their rights and effectively integrate them into the city.

Regarding Bogotá's current strategies and programs, Secretary Blinken expressed his support and reiterated the interest in international cooperation from agencies such as USAID and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to provide an effective response to migratory flows and the integration of migrants in the city.

Last March, USAID, and Bogotá signed a commitment to promote, develop, and strengthen mutual cooperation, which has been key in the development of projects such as the District's Intersectoral Commission for the Services to and Integration of the Population from Mixed Migratory Flows, the Healthy Communities program promoted by the Secretariat of Health, and technical assistance in the Intégrate centers.

"Here in Colombia and Bogotá, we see an example of extraordinary generosity and long-term planning. Efforts like the PPT show that Venezuelans can send their children to school here, and that they can be productive and contributing members of the community. What we have seen today can become a model for many other places in the world to follow," said Blinken.

Secretary Blinken's visit follows his meeting with President Gustavo Petro, in the midst of an international tour of Latin America aimed at strengthening relations and reviewing progress on issues of common interest with partner nations, mainly in areas such as climate action, anti-drug trafficking efforts, and responses to irregular migration.

The meeting with Mayor López also signifies a reaffirmation of the District's commitment to the new proposed Plan Colombia which involves the inclusion of women and youth in the economic model, a common interest shared with the U.S. government and USAID.

Watch here to see the statements delivered by the Mayor, Claudia López and the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken: