By Héctor Pereira y Jorge Gil Ángel
Ureña/Cucuta, Sep 26 (EFE).- Cargo transport across the border between Venezuela and Colombia resumed Monday after seven years of closure, giving hope to residents near the border that things will go back to normal.
But although authorities trust that the reopening of cargo traffic between the countries will bring economic benefits to regions that have been heavily affected by the closure, many citizens remain skeptical, with little information out there.
“We are mainly waiting for the comeback of the transportation, (…) for all of the people, especially for the children that cross at 4am,” Jose Rafael Salas, who lives on the Venezuelan side of the border and needs to travel to Cucuta in Colombia three times a week for work, tells Efe.
The first step for the reopening of the border was the removal of containers that blocked the international bridges Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander, as well as reorganizing and embellishing the checkpoints.
The changes have brought a positive energy at the border, but there is still a lot to be done.
The bridge of Tienditas, which was finished in 2016 but was never operational, is still blocked with containers placed by Nicolas Maduro’s government in 2019 to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile on the Colombian side, the road is still blocked with black tarpaulins and secured by guards and armed military.
In Venezuela, there is as much hope as uncertainty, fueled by the silence of the authorities that have not given any details on the reopening of the border.
“We will avoid the problem of passing through these irregular crossings,” Venezuelan resident, Adrian Cordero, says, adding that he hopes the restoration of the border will allow pedestrians and vehicles to cross safely without having to experience abuse by public officials that frequently ask for money to let people cross the border with merchandise.
“They have told us it will be commercial, but they still haven’t confirmed if they will allow particular cars and motorcycles to pass through. We are expecting good things to come because it has already been seven years, too long,” says a Colombian woman who has lived on the Venezuelan side of the border for ten years. EFE