Colombia’s Petro makes contact with Venezuela over border reopening

Bogotá, Jun 22 (EFE).- Colombia’s president-elect Gustavo Petro on Wednesday said he had been in contact with Venezuelan authorities to discuss fully reopening the shared border, which has been closed for the past seven years.

“I have communicated with the Venezuela government to open the borders and reestablish the full exercise of human rights on the border,” said the leftist politician, who won Sunday’s presidential election.

Petro gave no further details about the conversation and did not specify whether it was held with Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro, with whom he shares political sympathies.

The reopening of the border was among Petro’s campaign promises.

Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,219-kilometer frontier which has been closed to vehicular traffic since 2015 following an order from Maduro, who had expelled thousands of Colombians from the region.

Caracas later severed diplomatic ties with Bogotá after the outgoing president Iván Duque recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.

The crisis in Venezuela, beset by political conflict, hyperinflation and poverty, sent nearly two million people across the border to seek refuge in Colombia, where they were granted temporary protection status by the Duque government. EFE


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