SAN JUAN DE COLON, Venezuela – Official cross-border trade between Venezuela and Colombia has been nearly shut off since 2015, when Venezuela’s socialist president closed crossings after years of deteriorating relations with Colombia’s conservative administrations.
Now, leftist Gustavo Petro is being inaugurated as Colombia’s president Sunday promising to normalize relations with Venezuela, and optimism is rising along the border that the crossings will begin reopening.
Still, business owners and residents know meaningful vehicular activity will not resume overnight.
Venezuela’s economic woes have only worsened since border commerce was shut down.
Roads and bridges on the Venezuelan side are in disrepair. Venezuelan truckers lack needed permits. And their counterparts in Colombia want safety guarantees.