Puebla, Mexico, August 5, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela and Colombia may soon reopen their shared border, after talks between the two countries Thursday.
During the talks, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez and her Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin agreed to consider a five point plan to reopen the border after a year of closure.
Among the proposals was a suggestion to issue special ID cards to border residents, as part of efforts to crack down on smuggling.
Rodriguez said the proposal was made by the Colombian government, and has already received tentative approval.
“The (ID cards) will contain basic information of the activities taking place on the border and it will be subject to strict controls,” Rodriguez said during an appearance aired by state broadcaster VTV.
No further details were released, though the proposal is part of a five point plan to bolster border security. According to Venezuelan state media outlet AVN, the two foreign ministers also discussed allowing the opening of gas stations along the border, which could sell gasoline to residents in Colombian pesos.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan newspaper Ultimas Noticias has reported the two proposals are part of a broader five point plan to bolster border security. According to the newspaper, the two countries are also seeking to improve military cooperation, along with improving infrustructure and public services in border regions.
During Thursday’s talks, the foreign ministers also agreed to organise a meeting between presidents Nicolas Maduro and Juan Manuel Santos. It’s unclear when the meeting will take place, though high level security talks between Venezuela and Colombia are slated for next Tuesday.
The Venezuela/Colombia border has been closed since August 2015, as part of Maduro’s counter smuggling plan. The border has been temporarily opened twice since then, but was again closed at the time of writing.
The Maduro government says smuggling has become a major economic problem for his country, with gasoline being among the most smuggled products. According to Colombian government figures, US$6 billion in goods were smuggled into Colombia in 2012, with much of that coming from the Venezuelan border. That figure was roughly equal to 10 percent of Colombia’s overall imports for 2012.