Colombia restored diplomatic relations with Venezuela, ignoring the US’s call to isolate the leftist neighbor.
The announcement was not unexpected. Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s newly elected President and the first left-leaning politician to hold that office in the country, promised during the campaign trail to rebuild the relationship.
The decision has the potential to anger not only the US but also millions of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia, who have long been calling on the international community to punish the Venezuelan regime led by Nicolas Maduro.
— Jorge Rodríguez (@jorgerpsuv) August 31, 2022
The two Latin American countries began distancing from each other in August 2018, when then Colombian President Iván Duque said he would no longer recognize the Maduro administration and that there would be no need to have an ambassador in Caracas. On February 23, 2019, Maduro responded by withdrawing Venezuelan diplomats from Colombia.
Analysts say both Colombia and Venezuela cannot afford a rivalry because they share a 1,200-mile-long porous border. And the sparsely populated towns across the border have long been hideouts for criminals, ranging from bandits to armed rebel groups and drug smugglers.
Both countries will soon resume military cooperation to curb criminal activities in areas along the border.
“Relations with Venezuela should never have been severed. We are brothers, and an imaginary line cannot separate us,” tweeted the newly appointed Colombian ambassador, Armando Benedetti.