Venezuela on Monday announced the reopening of its land borders with Colombia, more than two years after they were closed amid a diplomatic crisis between the neighbors.
Speaking on national television, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said cross-border trade between the two countries would resume from Tuesday, adding that it was time to “turn the page.”
“It’s time for us to have the freedom to come and go calmly without any inconvenience,” Rafael Gomez, who owns a truck parking lot at the border, told AFP.
He said the closure had hurt the local economy.
Caracas had unilaterally closed its land borders with Colombia in February 2019 amid a power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido—who claimed to be his country’s interim leader.
Venezuela’s government had also broken off diplomatic ties with Colombia due to Bogota’s recognition of Guaido.
Venezuela’s leftist government and the right-wing leadership in Colombia are ideological enemies but the two countries share a 2,200-kilometer border.
In June, Bogota unilaterally reopened its borders with Venezuela, a move which Maduro described as “ill-timed”. He called for a “controlled opening” with both countries struggling to get on top of Covid outbreaks.
Despite the border closure, thousands of people continued to cross clandestinely from one country to the other.