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August 25, 2015

Colombians rally behind former president amid mass deportations by Venezuela

Maduro critic Alvaro Uribe speaks out against ongoing border crisis.

Colombian former President and current Senator, Alvaro Uribe (center), speaks to supporters in the border city of Cucuta, Norte de Santander Department, Colombia on August 24, 2015. (AFP/SCHNEYDER MENDOZA)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the mass deportation of hundreds of Colombians to crack down on smuggling across the Colombia-Venezuela border. Maduro blames Colombian smuggling for its food shortages and rampant crime. The leader also claims former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is funding paramilitary groups in Venezuela.

Colombians stood by Uribe, who spoke at a rally at the border Monday night to express "solidarity with those mistreated by the dictator [Maduro]."

Attendees of the rally used #UribeSolidarioEnLaFrontera, or "Uribe solidarity on the border" more than 24,000 times to share parts of his speech and comment on relations between the two countries.