Venezuela says it will reopen its border with Colombia, after more than two years of closure, in an effort to “turn the page” in trade relations with Bogota.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced the government’s decision in a national television address on Monday, saying cross-border trade between the two countries would resume from Tuesday.
Rodriguez said it was time to “turn the page” in relations between Caracas and Bogota, which had engaged in a diplomatic dispute in January 2019, after Colombia, followed the US in the recognition of opposition figure Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s leader.
Guaido had unilaterally declared himself “interim president” at the time.
On Monday, forklift trucks were seen removing two containers barricading the bridge between the Venezuelan town of San Antonio de Tachira and Cucuta in Colombia, AFP reported.
Caracas closed the country’s border with Colombia in February 2019, as Guaido was planning to bring a convoy of “humanitarian aid” into the country through the border, in defiance of the Venezuelan military.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro slammed Guaido's humanitarian caravan as a "cheap show" back then, describing it as a precursor for a US military intervention in the oil-rich country.
Back in June, Bogota unilaterally reopened its borders with Venezuela, but Maduro described the move as “ill-timed.”
He called for a “controlled opening” as both countries were struggling to contain coronavirus outbreaks.
Colombian President Ivan Duque, however, said in a statement that the recent reopening would be an "orderly process."
Venezuela and Colombia share a 2,200-kilometer border.