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Colombia and Venezuela open the economic door


The passage of two trucks over the Simón Bolívar International Bridge sealed this Monday the reopening of the border between the two countries

The passage of two trucks over the Simón Bolívar International Bridge sealed the reopening of the border between Venezuela and Colombia on Monday.

One more step in the reconstruction of a relationship that began to break down more than seven years ago when Nicolás Maduro ordered a temporary closure that was prolonged on both sides.

The effort of the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, to overcome as soon as possible the rupture that deepened his predecessor, Iván Duque, is a priority since he became president a month and a half ago.

This Monday, Petro participated in the event.

Maduro was not seen.

The handshake between the two leaders will have to wait.

In this process, symbols have even more meaning than facts.

The commercial reopening is a first step for a border that in its good years became the busiest in Latin America.

Freight vehicles will be able to cross from tonight, although during the day the bridges will continue to function as pedestrian crossings, as in recent months.

Petro, who took a mass bath, assured that it was a "historic day" for the entire region.

Two hours behind schedule, the president landed in Cúcuta.

Accompanied by a huge entourage and amid shouts of ¡Viva Petro!

and yes it could!

the president walked from the Colombian side of the border to the midpoint of the Simón Bolívar.

From Venezuela, a delegation from the Chavista government headed by the Minister of Transportation took the opposite path.

There they shook hands in the midst of a cloud of cameras and security.

A Venezuelan army band sang the Colombian anthem and the Colombian army symphony played the Venezuelan one.

The highlight of a day of sticky heat was the passage of trucks, in addition to the presence of the president confirmed at the last minute.

A Venezuelan cargo vehicle honking its horn, with colored balloons and the flag tied to its nose, crossed the bridge to applause.

As merchandise he carried two rolls of metallic foil.

On the other side, a Colombian truck crossed, also carrying the flag.

Petro would later explain that he was loaded with medicine.

The two countries had just opened the door to commercial exchange after seven years marked by disagreements.

"The grace of trade is that it brings progress to the population and I will be measuring that," Petro warned.

Starting this morning, the trucks will be able to cross two of the three bridges that connect the Colombian department of Norte de Santander and the Venezuelan state of Táchira: the Simón Bolívar and the Francisco de Paula.

The president announced that in a few weeks he would open, for the first time to traffic, the Tienditas Binational Bridge, which became a symbol of the hostility between the two countries and was never inaugurated.

The reopening was a clamor from the border population on both sides, who never got to live entirely with their backs turned on their neighbors, but did suffer the impoverishment of the lack of relations.

The commercial exchange between Colombia and Venezuela exceeded 7,000 million dollars in 2008, but in 2021 it was 394 million.

Hundreds of border residents attended the event. GLADYS SERRANO

Petro is determined to lead an approach to the Venezuela of Nicolás Maduro after the failure of the Guaidó route that Duque embraced and that aspired to dislodge Chavismo from power.

A strategy promoted by the United States, but even Washington is giving up.

The commercial reopening is one more advance in a process that has been ongoing since the Colombian president came to power but in which tug-of-war is expected.

After the appointment of ambassadors and the opening of the border that connects the two countries by land, air connections are expected to resume shortly.

The idea was that this Monday the first Caracas-Bogotá plane would fly, but the attempts of two Venezuelan airlines were in vain due to the problems derived from international sanctions.

“There will be discussions and obstacles between the two governments,

but always in peace and with the argument.

Always respecting the other.

The self-determination of peoples is an order of the Constitution”, said Petro before ending the act.

The meeting with Maduro still does not seem imminent.

While all this was happening, hundreds of Venezuelans were waiting on the Cucuteño side of the bridge for the passage to open.

Like every day, also this Monday thousands of people crossed on foot from one side to the other.

To make the purchase, to go to the doctor, to study.

For them, the border party put a stop to their daily life between two cities that do not understand each other separately, but that knew the importance of a historic day.

For Yenni Velázquez, the stoppage time was worth it: “I'll wait to




that it never closes again”.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-09-26

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