Venezuela plans to reopen borders with Colombia

Maduro had severed relations with country

By Nicole Chavez, CNN
CNN Video

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he plans to reopen the country's borders with Colombia on Saturday.

"In full exercise of our sovereignty, I have ordered the opening of the border crossings with Colombia in the state of Tachira, starting this Saturday #8Jun," the embattled president tweeted Friday. "We are a peaceful people who firmly defend our independence and self-determination."

The announcement comes months after Maduro severed diplomatic relations with Colombia and other countries. The South American country closed its border with Colombia in February as the Venezuela opposition party sought to import foreign aid to the South American country. Maduro denied that a humanitarian crisis exists in Venezuela and suggested that aid efforts are part of a US plot to orchestrate a coup.

Maduro has permitted aid deliveries from China and humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross but has refused to open Venezuela's borders to aid from a number of countries that recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate interim president. Those countries include Canada, the UK, Germany and the US.

Last month, the country's borders with Brazil and Aruba were re-opened in order to "restore economic, social, political and cultural life," said Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami in a televised speech.

Also on Friday, Guaidó acknowledged divisions within the opposition, saying differences will be worked out gradually, because "we are all united in one cause."

"Yes, there have been differences and of course we are having them now," he said while speaking at an event in Valencia.

Guaidó was responding to comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said last week that it is difficult to keep the Venezuelan opposition united.

CNN's Taylor Barnes and Larry Register contributed to this report.

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