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Venezuela announced the resumption of its military relations with Colombia

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What did Bolívar’s sword represent in Petro’s swearing-in? 2:43 (CNN Spanish) — Venezuela announced the resumption of its military relations with Colombia two days after the inauguration of Gustavo Petro as president. “I have received instructions from the CJ FANB @Nicolasmaduro, to immediately establish contact with the Colombian Ministry of Defense to reestablish our military relations,” Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Twitter. After years of a stagnant relationship and with bilateral trust broken by the actions of the last governments —and after a campaign by President Iván Duque and his so-called diplomatic siege to remove the questioned President Nicolás Maduro from power— Petro’s statements have been received with an air of cautious optimism and hope that they may result in the normalization of bilateral relations. Relations between Colombia and Venezuela have been in crisis since 2015 and the situation worsened with the pandemic in 2020, as Colombia ordered the closure of border crossings as a health measure. The border between Colombia and Venezuela, where people and goods have passed for centuries, was closed in 2015 by the government of Nicolás Maduro after a confrontation between Venezuelan security forces and civilians, which Maduro attributed to “paramilitarism” in Colombia and by which blamed former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who at the time denied the accusations. During the Duque government, the president of Colombia was one of the regional leaders who promoted the so-called Lima Group. This emerged on August 8, 2017 with the aim of seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela with the subscription of several right-wing governments in the region, which politically and economically sanctioned the Maduro government. After his electoral victory in June, Petro announced that he would reopen the borders with Venezuela to “restore the full exercise of human rights” there. Although the land border between Colombia and Venezuela is partially open, the goal is to open it completely and restore bilateral trade. Trade has been one of the most affected by the problems on the Colombian-Venezuelan border. In 2008, the commercial exchange between the two countries was about US$7.2 billion, in 2015 it had fallen to around US$1.331 billion and in 2020 it was just US$221 million. And the pandemic worsened border crossing closures. With information from Melissa Velasquez

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