Colombia reopens border with Venezuela for the first time in 14 months

Bogotá — Colombia launched what the government called a gradual reopening of its border with Venezuela on June 2, after a 14-month closure aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Colombia, with its approximately 1,380 miles (2,220 km) border from Venezuela, is the main destination for Venezuelans to escape their social and economic crises. The two countries do not maintain diplomatic relations.

According to a resolution issued by the Andean Ministry of Interior, the gradual opening of river and land crossings was allowed from midnight on June 2, the ministry’s biosecurity considering pandemics established by the Colombian Ministry of Health. He said measures must be followed when crossing borders.

Colombia closed its border in March 2020. The country’s immigration office said it would schedule cross-border times and set limits based on the last person’s ID. Colombia reopened its borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Panama on May 19.

About 1.7 million Venezuelans live in Colombia. This number could increase in the coming months after Colombian President Ivan Duque decided to grant Venezuelan migrants ten years of temporary protection status.

Colombia has accused Venezuela’s government of President Nicolas Maduro of having former FARC rebels who rejected the 2016 peace agreement and guerrillas of the National Liberation Army. He accused him of plotting to overthrow Maduro.

Luis Jaime Acosta

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