Colombia & Venezuela Reopen Trade Bridge
Colombia and Venezuela reopened transport at a major border bridge crossing this week for the first time in seven years, following icy relations and restricted trade between the two countries.
The reopening, which will allow goods to move between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Venezuelan state of Tachira, was a campaign promise of Colombia’s new President Gustavo Petro.
Relations between the two countries had been particularly difficult for some time before Venezuela cut diplomatic ties in 2019, closing all embassies and consulates and evacuating all diplomats. This situated persisted until last month when the countries restored diplomatic relations following Petro’s win in the Colombian election.
The crossings began with a truck load of aluminum, festooned with national flags and balloons, crossing the bridge from Tachira into Colombia, the first truck moving from Venezuela carried medical supplies.
The border was already open to pedestrians, with many Venezuelans travelling to buy basic goods as their country experiences a long-running economic crisis, but now cargo trucks can cross between 10am and 5pm each day.
Trade between the neighbouring countries had totalled $7 billion in 2008, before the relationship broke down. This now looks set to be rejuvenated with a second road bridge near Cucuta due to open within weeks and flights between the capital cities planned to restart. Flights would be operating already, but have been delayed due to some difficulties with US sanctions against Venezuela’s state airline.