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Montevideo, December 2nd 2021 - 10:36 UTC

 

 

Duque remain distrusting of Maduro as reopening of borders not going so smoothly

Friday, October 8th 2021 - 09:50 UTC
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Duque has his reasons never to trust Maduro Duque has his reasons never to trust Maduro

Colombian President Iván Duque was sceptical of the offer from Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, who asked investors to return to that country.

“Be very careful with the speeches that come with siren songs from the dictatorship in Venezuela, which now comes out to speak beautifully inviting investors to come to that territory,” warned Duque.

Duque's words came a day after Maduro invited Colombian businessmen to resume investments, “sales” and “all commercial economic activity” in that country.

This week Venezuela surprisingly announced the gradual reopening of the land border closed for 32 months, which has so far consisted only of removing the containers placed to block the international bridge (see below).

Duque told Maduro not to try to “erase history,” as he recalled Caracas' order in 2015 to expel Colombians who lived in border towns and mark their houses with paint “in the most vivid expression of what the tragedies of fascism in Europe were .”

Maduro “was the dictator who expelled the consular services and the one who decided to abruptly close a border,” Duque insisted.

The Colombian President also pointed out that that Bogotá had opened the border crossings on June 2 and said that if the cargo containers that were blocking the Simón Bolívar international bridge were lifted on the Venezuelan side, it was thanks to the “people” of that country.

But Gaby Arellano, a deputy to Venezuela's 2015 National Assembly, denounced Thursday that the bridge linking Táchira with the Colombian department of Norte de Santander remained closed, despite Vice President Delcy Rodríguez's announcements.

“There is no passage through the international bridges between Venezuela and Colombia,” Arellano wrote on Twitter. Táchira “Protector” Freddy Bernal controls the passage of people, charging between US $ 5 and US $ 25 per person, according to Arellano.

Meanwhile Colombian Ombudsman Carlos Camargo has confirmed restrictions were still in force on the border with Venezuela in clear violation of the rights of people who try to transit between the two countries.

“Despite the fact that a supposed reopening of the border was announced from Venezuela, removing the obstacles on the Simón Bolívar bridge, only students and people with health difficulties or family calamities are allowed to pass through,” said Camargo.

“It is not true, as mentioned from the Venezuelan side, that there is a reopening of the Francisco de Paula Santander and Simón Bolívar international bridges,” he added.

Duque also vowed not to cease in his efforts to “raise” his voice against the “dictatorship” of Maduro in his 10 months left as Colombian head of state.

Trade between Colombia and Venezuela used to exceed US $ 7 billion annually. Currently, it barely reaches around US $ 200 million.

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