Venezuela, Colombia to partially reopen border

Aug 12, 2016, 2:10 AM EDT
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro
(Source: Senado Federal/flickr)

Venezuela and Colombia agreed to open five main pedestrian crossings along the countries’ 1,400-mile border on Thursday. The relations between the two nations soured last year after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shut the frontier on security grounds. Following a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Maduro said that the two countries will consider full reopening of the border after reaching separate agreements on security, commerce and energy.

Venezuela, which is reeling under a severe economic crisis and acute shortages of food and basic supplies, opened its border with Colombia twice in July to allow its people to cross over and shop for basic items, writes the BBC.

Although the latest move may improve supply and reduce social tension in Venezuela, it will not address the root causes of the economic crisis in the country, notes The Wall Street Journal. The reopening of border is a “striking volte-face” for Maduro, who had blamed the country’s deepest economic crisis on Colombian smugglers, immigrants and criminals.

During a year of isolation, the situation of food supply and security has worsened in Venezuela. The country, plagued by triple-digit inflation, has witnessed a wave of food riots and looting in recent months.