Venezuela to reopen border with Colombia
Border has been closed since 2019 amid political and diplomatic dispute between 2 countries
The Venezuelan government announced the reopening of its border with Colombia for commerce beginning Tuesday.
“As of tomorrow, we will be opening trade between our countries,” Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Monday in an address on state television.
Containers that were blocking circulation on the main crossing were removed Monday.
“As promised! On the instructions of President Nicolas Maduro, today we began the removal of the containers that were on the bridges, and we began the gradual and biosecure commercial opening of the border through Colombia,” said Freddy Bernal, a representative of the Venezuelan government in the border state of Tachira.
The border was closed in 2019 after the Colombian government attempted to bring humanitarian supplies into Venezuela. The government at the time said it was part of a plot backed by the United States to overthrow President Maduro.
Maduro said Colombian diplomatic staff had to leave the country after Colombia assisted self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido to bring humanitarian aid into the country. Since then, Venezuela had cut diplomatic ties with the neighboring country.
After the reopening of the border was announced, Colombia’s Defense Minister Diego Molano ordered an increased military presence along the border with Venezuela.
Colombian authorities accuse Venezuela of harboring former FARC rebels who decided to withdraw from a peace treaty signed with the government in 2016. The Venezuelan government says that on the Colombian side there are criminal groups as well as drug trafficking.
"But in spite of the planned violence against our homeland, President Maduro, always thinking of our people, thinking of brotherhood and cooperation...has taken the decision to open the binational commercial border,” said Rodriguez.
Colombia hosts an estimated 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants, many of whom have crossed the border through illegal trails controlled by criminal groups.
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