AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Hopes for the permanent reopening of the border with Venezuela

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 politics   refugees   hunger  


Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - As reported in a note sent to Fides, last Sunday about 35,000 Venezuelans in San Antonio del Táchira crossed the Simon Bolivar international bridge heading for the Colombian city of Cucuta, to buy food, medicine and basic necessities. On August 19, 2015 Venezuelan President Maduro had in fact ordered to close the border with Colombia (see Fides 03 and 05/09/2015) to prevent the entry of Colombian paramilitaries and combat smuggling. The President himself authorized the opening of the border only for 12 hours, on Sunday, July 10.
Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota, praised the Colombians for their solidarity and reception of Venezuelans: "I congratulate and thank the Colombians that, like good Samaritans, have exercised solidarity towards our brothers in Venezuela".
The situation still remains uncertain: although the border was closed from Venezuela, the Colombian government believes that the opening should be authorized and coordinated by both countries. The few official reports in the past few months are clear in saying that after the reopening, there will be more controls on both sides. On August 4 there will be a meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries, in order to set a date for the opening of the border, which could also take place in the same month of August.(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 13/07/2016)