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Colombia and Venezuela formally restored relations Monday, ending a three-year-long diplomatic impasse between the two neighboring countries, Bloomberg reported.
The restart of relations comes less than a month after leftist Colombian President Gustavo Petro took office. Petro – the country’s first leftist leader – vowed to restart bilateral ties with Venezuela, previously saying that severing relations with its socialist neighbor was “a huge mistake.”
Following years of hostility between leftist Venezuela and Colombia under the latter’s successive conservative presidents beginning with Alvaro Uribe, the two nations broke ties in 2019.
At the time, Colombia – under former conservative President Ivan Duque – joined around 60 other countries in refusing to recognize Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s president following the latter’s 2018 presidential elections.
Instead, they recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Both nations shut down their embassies and consulates and flights between them were grounded, according to Agence France-Presse. Even the 1,200-mile land border between them was closed between 2019 and October 2021, when it reopened to pedestrians only.
Analysts said that the restoration of relations would then be followed by work on reestablishing regional and political trade blocs, such as the Andean Community, which Venezuela pulled out of years ago.
The two countries have also expressed interest in restoring military relations.
Meanwhile, business groups suggested that bilateral trade between the countries would rise by about $1.2 billion by the end of the year if the border is fully reopened. Colombia exported just $331 million worth of goods to Venezuela last year, compared with more than $6 billion in 2008.