The border crossing between Colombia and Venezuela begins its slow thaw with the enabling of the international bridges Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander, to allow the passage of heavy cargo vehicles between Cúcuta and the state of Táchira.
After the authorization of the “commercial opening” and progressive of the border with Colombia informed by the vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, the preparations began so that the long-awaited normality is recovered in a border area that has been restricted for more than three years. .
William Gómez, mayor of the Venezuelan municipality of Bolívar, Táchira state, told the Colombian media On the radio that “in the coming days” the crossing of cargo vehicles will be allowed, which will formally begin the measure announced by Rodríguez on Monday.
“The pedestrian crossing restriction is still being maintained because coordination with the health authorities and Migration Colombia is now expected, because when the reopening is announced, an average of 12,000 to 15,000 people they are going to be passing by the bridge, “Gómez emphasized.
The mayor clarified that “the first phase” of this commercial reopening of the border will be carried out by the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge, which connects the Colombian city of Cúcuta, in the department of Norte de Santander in Colombia, with the population of the municipality Ureña in the Táchira.
Gómez commented that the passage will only be enabled, for now, for heavy-duty vehicles because it has not been authorized for cars individuals or public transport.
The measures have been agreed in conjunction with officials of the Government of Colombia who are in charge of immigration and customs areas, as well as representatives of the regional administration of Norte de Santander.
What happened after the announcement of Caracas?
After the Venezuelan vice president announced the commercial reopening of the border, the representative of the Venezuelan government in Táchira, Freddy Bernal, reported that the process will be “gradual and biosecurity“and stressed that it would begin with the removal of the containers that were in the middle of the international bridges, since the border conflict registered in Cúcuta on February 23, 2019.
The containers represent for the Venezuelan authorities a symbol of resistance, since they were arranged to prevent the passage of trucks with heavy loads, coming from Colombia, that tried to enter the country without authorization with a supposed “humanitarian aid”, after the self-proclamation of the ex-deputy Juan Guaidó as “interim president”.
That episode, encouraged by the governments that made up the Lima Group at that time, led to the closure of the binational border that has been in place until now. The almost null relations between Caracas and Bogotá, due to Iván Duque’s ignorance of the government of President Nicolás Maduro, prevented the reestablishment of dialogue between the parties to normalize the situation in the extensive border area.
This week, the Venezuelan authorities indicated that the step towards regularization at the border was taken with a view to boosting the local economy, considered one of the most vibrant in the region.
In fact, Vice President Rodríguez recalled that border activity between Colombia and Venezuela has reached more than 7,000 million dollars in commercial exchanges, which translates into “a very direct message to the productive forces” of both countries.
A gradual reopening
Meanwhile, the Department of Migration Colombia issued a release to remember that “the border crossing has been taking place gradually” and “taking into account a series of schedules for the entry and exit of travelers.”
In the document, the Colombian immigration authorities highlight that since June 2 they opened their border with Venezuela and that the process of entry of people to Colombian territory is carried out with « the pico y bill system ».
In the case of people who need to transit to the interior of the country or go to a third destination, they must comply with other requirements and records such as the exit ticket from Colombia, a hotel reservation or an invitation letter, as well as possess economic resources for their maintenance and valid and current travel documents.
Migration Colombia also reported that once the process of entering their country through the border crossings with Venezuela stabilizes, will analyze the possibility of resuming the issuance of the Border Mobility Card (TMF). In the same way, he recalled that health controls for travelers are in charge, given the powers, of the departmental and local health authorities.
Businessmen celebrate the measure
The Venezuelan-Colombian Economic Integration Chamber (Cavecol) celebrated with a release the announcement of the border trade opening, since they considered it a key factor “in the reactivation of productive activity and legitimate and formal commercial exchange“.
The members of Cavecol urged that the measure be coordinated between the authorities of both countries so that, in the near future, “the regular passage of pedestrians and vehicles for commercial exchange is allowed,” to “reverse the unfavorable effects” caused by the restrictions. and prolonged closures in the region.
“Now more than ever, stable conditions are needed for the reconstruction of the social and business fabric on both sides of the border,” add the businessmen, without ignoring that it is a complex operation.
However, the union insists on the need for the actors in charge of regulating the passage to be able to “put aside personal interests, giving priority to their commitment to favor the reestablishment of normality for healthy coexistence and formal trade between both nations. in a real way. “
Orlando Rangel Y.
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