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After a seven-year closure, shipping traffic between Colombia and Venezuela has resumed today. The ceremonial reopening of an important border crossing is part of the rapprochement between the two South American nations.
For years, relations between neighboring countries were strained. But since the leftist Gustavo Petro came to power in Colombia, diplomatic relations with Venezuelan Socialist President Nicolas Maduro have been strengthened.
The reopening of the border crossing between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Venezuelan state of Tachira was an electoral promise by Petro. The first trucks to cross the border were carrying medical supplies, toilet paper, and textiles.
The crossing is open for freight traffic every day between 10am and 5pm local time. The border has been open to pedestrians for some time. Commercial aviation between the two countries will also be resumed soon.
For many people, the reopening is a blessing from heaven:
The border between Colombia and Venezuela is reopened after 7 years
Hunger and chaos
Previously, $7 billion worth of merchandise was traded between the two countries every year. But in recent years, the borders have been closed as a result of great social unrest in Venezuela. Hyperinflation, hunger, and chaos have caused millions of citizens to flee to neighboring countries such as Colombia.
In 2019, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido attempted to cross the relevant border crossing from Colombia with aid supplies. The army stopped him. Subsequently, Maduro cut diplomatic ties with the neighboring country.
Guaido had previously declared himself interim president, with the support of several Western countries. Maduro spoke of an attempted coup.
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