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Border reopens to trade between Venezuela-Colombia as tensions ease

People along the shared border hope the reopening of border crossings to cargo will boost the economy after a years-long closure

The reopening comes weeks after Petro and his Venezuelan counterpart President Nicolas Maduro announced that they planned to restore diplomatic relations, which were severed in 2019.

A Venezuelan cargo truck adorned with Venezuelan flags and balloons crosses the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia
The reopening comes after the leaders of Colombia and Venezuela announced plans to restore diplomatic relations after years of tensions [Fernando Vergara/AP Photo]

Trucks loaded with aluminum and medications have crossed a bridge linking Colombia and Venezuela for the first time in seven years, as the neighboring countries continue to mend relations after years of political conflict.

The border reopening – which will see goods like coal, toilet paper, and fruit moved through crossings between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Venezuelan state of Tachira – was a key campaign promise of Colombia’s new left-wing President Gustavo Petro.

Commercial flights between the countries will also resume soon, potentially enabling billions of dollars in trade after years of icy bilateral relations and heavily-restricted economic ties. Caracas and Bogota also have announced intentions to restore military relations.

On Monday, four trucks from company Transporte Condor were loaded with toilet paper, plastic glasses, medical supplies and textiles to cross early from Cucuta. The goods, weighing 120 tonnes, are valued at some $80,000, manager Diego Bohorquez said.

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