Venezuela announced on Monday the reopening of its land borders with Colombia, more than two years after they were closed amid a diplomatic crisis between neighbors.
Speaking on national television, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez said that cross-border trade between the two countries would resume as of Tuesday, adding that it was time to “turn the page.”
Hours earlier, AFP observed that forklifts were removing two containers that blocked the bridge between the Venezuelan city of San Antonio de Táchira and Cúcuta in Colombia.
“It is time that we have the freedom to come and go calmly and without any inconvenience,” Rafael Gómez, owner of a truck parking lot on the border, told AFP.
He said the shutdown had hurt the local economy.
Caracas had unilaterally closed its land borders with Colombia in February 2019 amid a power struggle between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who claimed to be his country’s interim leader.
Guaidó received support from around 60 countries, including the European Union, the United States and Colombia.
The Venezuelan government had also broken diplomatic relations with Colombia due to the recognition of Guaidó by Bogotá.
The left-wing government of Venezuela and the right-wing leadership in Colombia are ideological enemies, but the two countries share a 2,200-kilometer border.
In June, Bogotá unilaterally reopened its borders with Venezuela, a move Maduro described as “untimely.” He called for a “controlled opening” with both countries struggling to overcome the Covid outbreaks.
Despite the closure of the border, thousands of people continued to cross clandestinely from one country to another.