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Colombia and Venezuela reopen borders after years of impasse

Colombia and Venezuela on Monday reopened their border after years of impasse and following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

Colombia and Venezuela on Monday reopened their border after years of impasse and following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

“This is a historic day for the country, for the region and for the Americas in general,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro said.

The first cargo truck crossed the Simón Bolívar bridge from Colombia and into the neighbouring country for the first time in seven years. Commercial flights are also to resume.

Only recently both countries resumed diplomatic relations, but there has been a gradual rapprochement between the two South American nations since Petro was elected as the first leftist president in Colombia’s recent history on June 19.

The border was first closed in 2015 due to the increase of smuggled cheap goods from Venezuela into Colombia and reports of fighting between Venezuelan soldiers and Colombian smugglers.

Then in 2019 tensions between the countries flared up again when the Colombia government, with the help of the US, tried to deliver truckloads of aid to the Venezuelan opposition, led by Juan Guaidó.

The border was shut down for a year. It was later reopened for some time just to traffic by foot.

For years, Venezuela has been suffering from a severe political and economic crisis. More than 6 million Venezuelans have left the country, and almost 2 million now live in Colombia.

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