Colombia Reopens Border With Venezuela After 14 Months

June 3, 2021 Updated: June 3, 2021

BOGOTA — Colombia on June 2 began what its government called a gradual reopening of its border with Venezuela after a 14-month closure intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Colombia, whose porous border with Venezuela extends roughly 1,380 miles (2,220 km), has been the chief destination for Venezuelans fleeing their country’s social and economic crisis. The two countries don’t maintain diplomatic relations.

The gradual opening of river and land crossings was authorized starting at midnight on June 2, according to a resolution published by the Andean nation’s interior ministry. Biosecurity measures in light of the pandemic established by Colombia’s health ministry must be followed during crossings, the ministry said.

Colombia closed its borders in March 2020. It said its migration agency will schedule times for crossings and establish restrictions based on the last number of people’s identity documents. Colombia reopened its borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama on May 19.

About 1.7 million Venezuelans reside in Colombia. The number could rise in the coming months following a decision by Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government to grant Venezuelan migrants temporary protective status for a period of 10 years.

Colombia accuses Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government of harboring former FARC rebels who reject a 2016 peace deal, as well as guerrillas of the National Liberation Army. Venezuela accuses Duque of plotting to overthrow Maduro with support from the United States.

By Luis Jaime Acosta