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Colombia and Venezuela open key bridge amid warming ties

Colombia and Venezuela on Sunday opened a major bridge that had been closed for years due to political tensions between the South American neighbors.

Private vehicles were able to cross the Tienditas bridge, signaling the complete opening of the shared border to both cargo and people.

It was the latest sign of improved relations between the two countries that started after Colombian President Gustavo Petro took office last year.

Dramatic standoff on Tienditas

Sunday’s freeflow of cars and people was in sharp contrast to the images from 2019 when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro deployed the military on the bridge and blocked it with shipping containers.

He did it as a protest against opposition efforts to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia.

Colombia’s former President Ivan Duque had called Maduro a “dictator” and made Colombia one of 50 countries that recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, charging that Maduro’s re-election at the time had been fraudulent.

Image: Maria Baron/AP Photo/picture alliance

Diplomatic and commercial relations between Colombia and Venezuela broke down but were reestablished in September following the inauguration of Gustavo Petro as Colombia’s president.

Business as usual between Colombia and Venezuela

German Umana, Colombia’s commerce minister, told reporters at the crossing that the move would be positive for the economies and societies of both countries.

“We will never allow it again,” Umana said about the closure of the border.

“From today, all the border crossings are open for transport,” the governor of Venezuela’s Tachira state, Freddy Bernal, said.

He added there is a political will to continue improving relations between the two countries.

The Tienditas bridge is the last remaining crossing along the 2,200-kilometer (1,367-mile) border between the countries to be reopened following the restoration of relations.

Source : DW