Colombia, Venezuela normalize ties after more than three years of diplomatic rupture

Colombia, Venezuela normalize ties after more than three years of diplomatic rupture

Colombian President Gustavo Petro in the Yumbo on August 10, 2022. Colombian President Gustavo Petro in the Yumbo on August 10, 2022. JOAQUIN SARMIENTO / AFP

The planned merger takes place. Venezuela and Colombia announced on Thursday, August 11, that they would exchange ambassadors, more than three years after diplomatic relations were severed.

In Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said former Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia had asked the Colombian government for accreditation “and [qu’il serait] soon in Bogotá”.

“I have decided to appoint Armando Benedetti as Colombian ambassador to Venezuela, in response to the Venezuelan government appointing the ambassador who will be responsible for normalizing relations between the two countries,” Gustavo Petro replied in an address to the media-directed video. Mr. Benedetti is a former Senator.

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Caracas severed diplomatic ties with Bogotá in February 2019 when right-wing Colombian President Ivan Duque refused to recognize Nicolas Maduro’s re-election and backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s proclamation as interim president. Mr Maduro has also repeatedly reported on alleged plots being fomented by Mr Duque to oust him.

Sensitive topic

In addition to the exchange of ambassadors, the normalization process envisages the full reopening of the more than 2,000 km border separating the two countries, which has been completely closed to vehicles since 2015 and opened only to pedestrians since the end of last year. . Caracas and Bogota will also restore military ties.

“We will proceed step by step and at a safe pace to restore and rebuild political, diplomatic and trade relations,” Maduro said on state broadcaster VTV.

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Gustavo Petro, the first left-wing president in Colombia’s history to be elected on June 19, announced during his campaign that he would resume diplomatic relations with Venezuela once he takes office on August 7.

MM Petro and Maduro have already spoken on the phone, but the presence of guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug traffickers in the porous shared border area crossed by millions of Venezuelans fleeing the crisis remains a sensitive issue.

The world with AFP