On October 5th, Venezuela is reopening its border with Colombia, which has been closed for over 2 years.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced the opening on October 4th.
Venezuela closed the border in February 2019 as the Venezuelan opposition, backed by Bogota and Washington, attempted to bring humanitarian aid into the country its land border with Colombia against the wishes of President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela is suffering from a multi-year, hyperinflationary economic collapse.
Venezuelan authorities at the time blocked the Simon Bolivar bridge, one of the main crossings between the two countries, with shipping containers reading “We want peace.”
The opposition and its allies accuse Maduro of rigging his 2018 re-election. Maduro said the election was clean and blames U.S. sanctions for Venezuela’s economic crisis.
“Thinking of our people, in the brotherhood and cooperation between the people of Colombia and Venezuela, [Maduro] has taken the decision to open the crossing for commerce,” Rodriguez said.
Trade between the two countries, which share a porous 2,219 km border, once amounted to some $7 billion per year before the border closed, according to Freddy Bernal, a representative of Maduro’s government in the western border state of Tachira.
Colombia’s government, which does not recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president, closed the borders between the two neighboring South American countries in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It reverted that measure in June 2021, a move that had not been matched by Venezuela until now.
In a statement, Colombian President Ivan Duque said Maduro was pressured to open the border due to “democratic resistance,” a reference to Venezuela’s opposition. He said the reopening would be an “orderly process.”
The situation was a massive fiasco, with US-proclaimed president Juan Guaido attempting to assume power several, until ultimately losing steam entirely.
The entire charade lasted nearly two years with attempts at incursions from Colombia, as well as by sea attempting to sabotage infrastructure or abduct Venezuelan officials.
Venezuela was subject to several suspected “terror” attacks on its electricity network which led to days of blackouts throughout the country.
Venezuela’s oil exports last month sank to the lowest in almost a year, disrupted by a lack of diluents that led to sizable production losses at its main producing region, the Orinoco Belt, documents and tanker tracking data showed.
Years of mismanagement and U.S. sanctions have curtailed state-run Petroleos de Venezuela’s ability to produce and import enough light crude and refined products to mix its extra heavy oil into exportable grades.
The shortage since August has kept the Orinoco under an emergency declared by PDVSA because of production setbacks at oilfields and blending stations, which also have created delays for shipping, according to company documents.
Iran, whose cooperation with Venezuela has deepened as both nations deal with U.S. sanctions, sent a smaller cargo of condensate in July, and from February through April provided gasoline for the fuel-thirsty South American country, whose refineries are working at a fraction of capacity.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Venezuela’s Government And Opposition Work To Mend Fences, Without The U.S.
- U.S. Violates Venezuelan Airspace As Part Of Pressure Campaign Against Maduro