Colombia-Venezuela border opens to limited foot traffic

Sunday, 14 August, 2016 - 14:00

The re-opening of the Colombia-Venezuela border began on Saturday at 5 am, in an "ordered, controlled and gradual" fashion, shortly before the anniversary of its closure on Aug. 19.

From the early morning, people were allowed to cross on foot at the Venezuelan border crossings of San Antonio and Boca del Grita in the state of Tachira, Paraguachon in Zulia, Puente Paez in Apure and Puerto Ayacucho in Amazonas.

This decision was announced on Aug. 11 by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos after they held a summit in Venezuela.

At this first stage, Colombians will be allowed to cross on foot from 5 am to 8 pm and Venezuelans from 6am to 9 pm.

Those wishing to cross the border must have a migration card, granted by both governments in order to control and verify who is crossing.

In the coming days, the transportation ministers, Venezuela's Ricardo Molina and Colombia's Jorge Eduardo Rojas, will hold a meeting to agree on how to re-open the border to vehicles.

The closure of the border, which stretches for 2,219km, happened on Aug. 19, 2015, at the order of Maduro in response to an alleged attack on a Venezuelan army patrol by paramilitaries operating from inside Colombia.

Since then, it was only re-opened recently on July 10, 16 and 17 to allow around 130,000 Venezuelans to cross to the Colombian city of Cucuta to buy essential food and medicine, due to Venezuela's spiralling economic crisis.