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Colombia set to reopen border with Venezuela

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Colombia set to reopen border with Venezuela

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Photo: Ferley Ospina/AP

The reopening of the border between Colombia and Venezuela–scheduled for today–has been postponed.

The reopening was postponed after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced Colombia’s planned reopening as a unilateral measure designed to “create a smokescreen” to destabilize the border and distract from ongoing protests over rising inequality, poverty and police brutality which have gripped cities across Colombia.

While Maduro has so far held firm on his vow to block any unilateral reopening, it is possible that a bilateral agreement could be reached in the short-term. President Maduro has noted that he would be willing to discuss an agreement with Colombia provided proper COVID-19 screening is put in place to prevent cross-border infections and to prevent more infectious variants from entering Venezuela. Tensions remain high between Caracas and Bogota over recent violence near the border, and these tensions could stymie any bilateral agreement on the issue. If the border is reopened, expect a major influx of Venezuelan refugees into Colombia, despite the ongoing protests. Since 2017, many migrants have escaped Venezuela via the border with its neighbor. While these rates slowed significantly when the border was closed in 2020, a potential reopening will allow Venezuelans easier cross-border transit. 

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