The main border crossings from Colombia with Venezuela reopened this Tuesday partially for pedestrians by decision of the Government of the Caribbean country, a prelude to the expected resumption of commercial activity.

In Cúcuta, capital of the Colombian department of Norte de Santander, there are expectation by reopening announced for this Tuesday of commercial traffic through the border posts with the Venezuelan state of Tachira, closed since 2015 by andl Government of Nicolás Maduro, since this activity is vital for the economy of the two countries.

The Venezuelan government withdrew Monday the ccontainers that blocked the paso for him Simón Bolívar international bridge, with which this morning they returned to cross pedestrians who come to Cúcuta for medical treatments and to buy food.

“I feel happy because they took the step in the Simón Bolívar. I came to buy a little market, which is the most important thing, and to take my mother to the doctor, who has an appointment for the sight (eyes) and that they do me the favor of being They operate on her because there is nothing in the Central Hospital. There you have to buy gauze, gloves, everything; you cannot get sick, “Luis Alfonso Leal, a Venezuelan who crossed the bridge on foot, from San Cristobal.

As the, many Venezuelans and Colombians residents in that country they passed the border crossing, avoiding the trails where it has been circulated from illegal way in the last years, in the hope that barriers to movement between the two countries, which have not had diplomatic or consular relations since February 2019, will finally be lifted.

TRADE IN ZEROES

The trade exchange Come in Colombia and Venezuela, que en 2008 came to exceed 7,000 million dollars, started to fall in the following years by thes political differences between the governments and the crisis dthe neighboring country, until be reduced to almost zero, which affected the economy of Cúcuta and the neighboring Venezuelan cities of San Antonio, San Cristóbal and Ureña.

“We believe and are convinced that the pedestrian opening will generate an immediate reactivation and this will lead to the generation of employment, which is what this city needs so much,” the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Cúcuta, Carlos Luna.

In his opinion, border closure decided in august 2015 by the Government of Nicolás Maduro, with the excuse to fight a Colombian criminal gangs and prolonged by sanitary reasons, has caused great damage in the region.

“It is undeniable that this issue of the pedestrian closure affected not only businessmen but also the social and cultural life of the border (…) Even the informal economy was affected, the effect on this situation derived from the differences is incalculable diplomatic and political between Colombia and Venezuela, “he added.

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COLOMBIA’S POSITION

Behind the Venezuela announcement to reopen the border to commercial traffic, the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, assured yesterday that his country is willing to start “a orderly processor “but no hurries, and today he said that they could even reopen consular services suspended from 2019 when Mature expelled Colombian diplomats from that country.

“We are open to the fact that if there are conditions and if there are guarantees, that consular service can be reestablished, but, obviously, on the premise that there are all guarantees in terms of security,” said Duque.

Although there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries, the opening was possible by managements of the Secretary of Borders of Norte de Santander, Victor Baptist, and Maduro’s delegate for the state of Táchira, Freddy Bernal, who met on September 3 to seek solutions.

However, the governor of Táchira, Laidy Gómez, opponent of Maduro, denounced this Tuesday that lthe border is still closed then “there is only passage of humanitarian cases determined at the discretion of the officials of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, militarized police) on duty at the bridge. “

The Colombian Government recalled today that although all the country’s borders have been closed since March 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, on June 2 it authorized the “gradual opening” of land and river crossings with Venezuela.

“We opened the border on June 2 and since June 2 there has been an authorized passage from Colombia, however, from Venezuela that opening has not taken place,” said the director of Migration Colombia, Juan Francisco, on a visit to the Simón Bolívar bridge today. Thorny.

The official added that “the lifting of the containers will facilitate binational trade“and that they hope to begin with cargo transport” once we check the stability of the bridges and put the device into operation. “

For this reason, in Cúcuta they trust that these approaches will lead to an effective resumption of neighborhood relations.

“The opening of the vehicular passage is necessary for a commercial reactivation to begin because the trade link between the two nations must be reactivated immediately in favor of the commercial and transport sector,” summed up Luis Eduardo Ochoa, legal representative of the Santander Shopping Center , one of the main ones in Cúcuta. EFE

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