Colombia, Venezuela border to reopen to cargo traffic

Sep 9, 2022, 9:30 AM | Updated: 10:25 am
FILE - Containers block the Tienditas International Bridge, seen from Cucuta, Colombia, below, whic...

FILE - Containers block the Tienditas International Bridge, seen from Cucuta, Colombia, below, which connects with Tienditas, Venezuela, top, as the border has been partially closed for years by the Venezuelan government, Aug. 5, 2022. The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela announced on Sept. 9 that the years-long closure of their countries' shared border to cargo transport will end Sept. 26. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

(AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela on Friday announced that the years-long closure of their countries’ shared border to cargo transport will end Sept. 26. Air service between their capitals will also resume.

The announcement comes a month after Gustavo Petro was sworn in as Colombia’s first leftist president, beginning a thaw in relations between his country and the government of Nicolás Maduro. The presidents tweeted the announcement.

“We confirm the government’s commitment to restore brotherly relations,” Petro said.

The border crossing bridges are currently open to pedestrian traffic. Limited cargo transport is allowed only at one bridge in the northern portion of the countries’ shared 1,370-mile (2,200-km) border.

Maduro tweeted that Bogotá and the Venezuelan cities of Caracas — the capital — and Valencia will be connected again via air traffic.

“The exchange and cooperation between our peoples are starting off on the right foot,” he tweeted.

Petro, who took office Aug. 7, abandoned his conservative predecessor’s opposition to Maduro and quickly moved to re-establish relations with his government. Both countries have now accepted each other’s ambassadors.

Petro and Maduro are yet to have a state visit.

Under the presidency of Ivan Duque, Colombia was among the dozens of countries that withdrew recognition of Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate leader after his 2018 re-election, which they argued was a sham.

Maduro expelled all Colombian diplomats in 2019. By then, sanctioned trade between the South American countries had long been suspended.

Maduro in 2015 ordered the closure of legal crossing points after an incident during anti-smuggling operations at a border community. Foot traffic eventually resumed, and some cargo continued to move through the northern most bridge.

All sorts of goods have continued to enter Venezuela illegally over dirt roads manned by armed groups and others with the blessing of officials on both sides of the border. Similarly, illegal imports also enter Colombia, but on a smaller scale.

Criminals also use the dirt roads for drug and human trafficking.

The commercial exchange that in 2014 reached $2.4 billion was reduced last year to about $406 million, of which $331 million were imports from Colombia, according to the Chamber of Venezuelan-Colombian Economic Integration. The group, based in Caracas, estimates this year’s activity could reach $1.2 billion if the crossings reopen to vehicular traffic.

The Venezuelan government has estimated that the commercial exchange within a year of a fully reopened border could exceed $4 billion.

Business owners in border communities have constantly asked for the reactivation of trade between the countries, particularly after the additional economic challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The two nations are linked by several border crossings. All but two are within a 45-mile (75-kilometer) stretch, which before the shutdown handled 60% of commercial activity between the neighbors.

That area includes a finished bridge that never operated due to political tensions. Venezuela years ago set up shipping containers and cement barricades on the bridge to block it.

___

Garcia Cano reported from Caracas, Venezuela.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILLE - A Venezuelan couple use the Francisco De Paula Santander Bridge to cross between Urena, Venezuela and Cucuta, Colombia, Aug. 6, 2022. The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela announced on Sept. 9 that the years-long closure of their countries' shared border to cargo transport will end Sept. 26. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)
            
              FILE - Containers block the Tienditas International Bridge, seen from Cucuta, Colombia, below, which connects with Tienditas, Venezuela, top, as the border has been partially closed for years by the Venezuelan government, Aug. 5, 2022. The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela announced on Sept. 9 that the years-long closure of their countries' shared border to cargo transport will end Sept. 26. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

AP

FILE - A sign at the federal courthouse in Tacoma, Wash., is shown on April 6, 2016, to inform visi...
Associated Press

COVID’s lingering impact prompts Real ID deadline extension

The deadline for obtaining the Real ID needed to board a domestic flight has been pushed back again, with the Department of Homeland Security citing the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for the slower-than-expected rollout. The deadline to have a Real ID had been May 3, 2023, but DHS announced Monday that it was […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Mississippi grain company’s ex-CEO indicted on fraud charges

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The former leader of a Mississippi grain storage and processing company has been indicted on federal and state charges, more than a year after the company filed for bankruptcy, prosecutors said Tuesday. John R. Coleman, 46, of Greenwood, Mississippi, is the former CEO of Express Grain Terminals, LLC. A federal grand […]
17 hours ago
A burned-out warehouse is seen, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Baltimore. A man was found dead inside th...
Associated Press

Body of Baltimore fire victim went undiscovered for hours

BALTIMORE (AP) — Several hours after firefighters extinguished a warehouse fire in southwest Baltimore early Sunday, the scene was eerily quiet as Donte Craig stepped through the charred rubble, trying to remain hopeful. He was looking for his older brother James Craig Jr., who leased the warehouse for his demolition and hauling business. After hearing […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge reduces award for flight attendant who sued Southwest

DALLAS (AP) — A federal judge cut a flight attendant’s $5.1 million jury award to about $800,000 but ordered Southwest Airlines to rehire the woman, who had claimed that the airline and her union conspired to fire her for expressing opposition to abortion. U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr said in a ruling issued Monday that […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday. The Washington State Department of Agriculture also said that no confirmed sightings of the hornets were reported nearby in British Columbia, Canada. The northern giant hornet […]
17 hours ago
Former first lady Melania Trump, left, and Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., center, listen as former ...
Associated Press

Cawthorn broke rules over ‘meme’ crypto, told to pay $14K

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Departing U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina has been told to pay over $14,000 to charity after the House Ethics Committee found he financially benefited while purchasing a cryptocurrency that he was promoting and violated conflict of interest rules. The investigation examined the one-term Republican’s purchase of LGB Coin, named […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Colombia, Venezuela border to reopen to cargo traffic