Colombia’s next foreign minister, Álvaro Leyva, already appointed by president-elect Gustavo Petro, visited Venezuela on July 28 and met with Venezuelan Chancellor Carlos Faria.
The meeting marks the first visit by a Colombian official to the neighboring country since relations between Caracas and Bogota were severed in 2019.
The ministers signed an agreement that provides for “the appointment of ambassadors in Caracas and Bogotá” and the resumption of relations after Petro’s inauguration on August 7.
In a statement, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said that the meeting between Leyva and Faria took place “in order to reestablish diplomatic relations between brother countries.”
“Following the rupture of diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Colombia in 2019, the new president Gustavo Petro, who won the runoff on June 19, opened a channel of dialogue to initiate the reestablishment of binational ties,” the Venezuelan Ministry says.
The meeting took place in the city of San Cristóbal, capital of the state of Táchira, which has a long land border with Colombia.
An experienced Colombian politician and advocate of peace agreements with guerrilla groups, Leyva was chosen as chancellor by Petro in June. The president-elect takes office on August 7 and had already promised to restore relations with Venezuela.
Future of relations
Venezuela and Colombia have unresolved issues that have accumulated during the years that Iván Duque was president and joined the “maximum pressure” campaign against the neighboring country.
Duque, who remains president until Petro takes office, was one of the main supporters of former deputy Juan Guaidó who proclaimed himself “president” of Venezuela and organized several attempted coups and invasions against the country.
In addition, Duque protected Venezuelan opponents when they took control of Monómeros, a company owned by Venezuela and located in Colombian territory.
Soon after being elected, Petro spoke with Nicolás Maduro by phone and said that the return of Monómeros and the commercial reopening of the borders between the countries are key issues between Caracas and Bogotá.
The re-establishment of consular services is also an issue classified as urgent by the authorities, since many Venezuelans who immigrated from the country went to live in Colombia, especially in the border states.
This article written by Lucas Estanislau was originally published in Brasil de Fato.