Venezuela and Colombia restore full diplomatic ties after three years

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Venezuela and Colombia dispatched ambassadors to each other’s capitals on Sunday to rebuild relations between the two countries that have been broken for more than three years.

The new Colombian ambassador, Armando Benedetti, was welcomed in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas by Deputy Foreign Minister Rander Pena Ramirez.

“Relations with Venezuela should never have been severed. We are brothers and an imaginary line cannot separate us,” Benedetti said.

His appointment was only made possible by the election of Colombia’s first-ever leftist president, Gustavo Petro, who expressed his intention to normalize diplomatic relations with Venezuela after he took office earlier this month.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appointed former Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia as his country’s next ambassador to Colombia two weeks ago.

Plasencia arrived in Bogota on Sunday to restore ties and work to improve “cooperation and integration,” according to Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Faria.

Repairing a relationship

In addition to exchanging ambassadors, the normalization process will include the full reopening of the border, which has remained largely closed to vehicles.

The relationship between the two South American neighbors soured during the 2015 migrant crisis.

In 2019, Colombia’s former President Ivan Duque cut off ties with Caracas altogether after refusing to recognize Maduro’s election.

Embassies and consulates in both countries were closed, while flights between the two countries were also grounded. In addition, the border itself remained completely shut between 2019 and late 2021.

lo/jsi (AFP, EFE)

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