A changing Colombia-Venezuela relationship
This Monday, Caracas received and recognized Armando Benedetti as Colombia’s first ambassador to Venezuela’s Maduro government in three years. Cementing the reestablishment of diplomatic ties, Bogotá received and recognized Félix Plasencia as the Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia yesterday. The two countries broke diplomatic ties in 2019 following then Colombian President Ivan Duque's decision to not recognize Maduro's election as Venezuela’s president. Recently inaugurated Colombian President Gustavo Petro has sought to reestablish ties with the Maduro government, viewing Juan Guaidó as an “inexistent” president, as noted by El Nacional. The two countries plan to create a special economic zone along the border to boost trade and economic cooperation. (Efecto Cocuyo, DW, AP, El Nacional)
In Caracas, Ambassador Benedetti’s comments highlighted the change in relationship between Colombia and Venezuela. As noted by DW, he commented, “Relations with Venezuela should never have been severed. We are brothers and an imaginary line cannot separate us.” Furthermore, the ambassador confirmed that the Petro administration would rescind the complaint filed by the Duque administration to the International Criminal Court of “crimes against humanity” by the Maduro government, reports Infobae.
Other comments from Benedetti also underscored a new perspective on migration from the Petro administration, with the ambassador stating that Colombia would be “willing to do whatever is needed to stop the exodus that is supposedly happening," according to El Heraldo. There are currently 2.5 million Venezuelans in Colombia and nearly 7 million across the globe. While the Duque administration had placed migration as a key priority, developing and implementing a historic, 10-year regularization of the Venezuelan population in the country, the Petro administration has not emphasized migration among its many priorities. As noted in Monday’s LADB, Petro has yet to name the new leaders of Migración Colombia and the Secretariat of Inclusion (once known as the Border Manager’s Office).
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