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Montevideo, February 7th 2023 - 11:29 UTC

 

 

Expectation mounts over Petro-Maduro meeting in Caracas

Tuesday, November 1st 2022 - 10:01 UTC
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Diplomatic ties had been cut since then-Colombian President Iván Duque recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's acting president Diplomatic ties had been cut since then-Colombian President Iván Duque recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's acting president

Colombian President Gustavo Petro and his Venezuelan colleague Nicolás Maduro are to meet Tuesday in Caracas to discuss the evolution of bilateral ties after diplomatic relations between the two countries were restored following Petro's inauguration.

In their first face-to-face meeting as heads of state, Petro and Maduro are expected to review “the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the reopening of borders and Venezuela's reentry into the Inter-American Human Rights system,” according to an official statement.

After his election on August 7 as the first leftist president in Colombia's history, Petro set out to resume relations with Venezuela, which had been severed in 2019 under his predecessor Iván Duque.

According to a statement from Bogotá, Petro “will travel to the city of Caracas with his work team to have lunch with the Venezuelan president” to “boost the region's economy” and “the protection of the Amazon ... as part of the preliminary meetings to COP 27,” the UN climate conference beginning Nov. 6 in Egypt.

Relations between Caracas and Bogota broke down in 2019 when Duque recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's “acting president.”

Petro has underlined that only US$ 2.5 million worth of trade had crossed through the reopened borders because “officials from there and here are charging a commission” (bribe). The Colombian leader insisted on the need to immediately close the illegal crossings “because this border is for the people, not for the mafias.”

Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello assured that “the meeting was already planned, what it did not have was a date”.

“It had been a long time since neighboring presidents had met. Not because of Venezuela. They did not dare to talk to us because they were scolded in the United States. At some point, [Brazil's President-elect Luiz Inácio] Lula [Da Silva] will also come over or Maduro will go there,” said Cabello.

Petro has an ambitious environmental, economic and social agenda, which foresees fiscal and environmental reforms, and the termination of the domestic armed conflict with remnants of FARC and ELN guerrilla movements, for which Caracas would step in as a warrantor.

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