John Otis

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BOGOTÁ, Colombia — While marching in nationwide demonstrations this week, Pablo Mora wore a face mask to protect himself from the coronavirus. But every so often, the retired security guard took it off and blew a whistle to voice his disgust with Colombia's government.

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Two factors have led to protests in Colombia. The U.S. ally at the top of South America faces spiking COVID deaths amid very little vaccine. And the government is planning to raise taxes. John Otis reports on the public response.

Colombian President Iván Duque has won praise from the Biden administration, the United Nations and Pope Francis for his decision last month to provide temporary legal status to undocumented migrants from neighboring Venezuela. But according to Duque, what's been lacking from the international community is money to pay for a crisis that's similar in scope to the outflow of Syrian refugees in the 2010s.

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More than 5 million Venezuelans left their country because of political and economic crises over the last six years. Some South American neighboring countries are telling them not to come, but not Colombia. John Otis reports on its open-door policy.

BOGOTA, Colombia — Since fleeing Venezuela three years ago to escape a socialist dictatorship and the country's worst-ever economic collapse, Isaias Bello has lived in legal limbo.

If you send a bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day, chances are they were grown in Colombia. It remains the No. 1 supplier of flowers to the U.S. even though the coronavirus pandemic at one point threatened to wilt the industry.

"It's been a roller coaster," said José Restrepo, co-owner and general manager of the Ayurá flower farm, located just north of Bogotá in the Andean mountain town of Tocancipá.

Editor's note: This story includes details some readers may find disturbing.

At a shelter for Venezuelan migrants in the Colombian border town of Villa del Rosario, Alondra Castillo pulls back her blouse to reveal black-and-blue welts on her arms and shoulders.

Castillo, 23, explains that she and about 80 other Venezuelans were crossing into Colombia last month on a clandestine trail controlled by drug smugglers. But it was night, and she and her 2-year-old son became separated from the group.

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