Colombia and Venezuela officially reopened their common border on Monday, which had been closed for seven years, with an act headed by President Gustavo Petro and, on the Venezuelan side, the governor of the state of Táchira, Freddy Bernal, and the ministers of Transport and Industry.
The formal act, which began with the interpretation of the national anthems and handshake of the two delegations, takes place at the Simón Bolívar international bridge, the main border post between the two countries, and included the passage of the first cargo trucks in both directions.
The Venezuelan delegation was completed by the Minister of Transportation, Ramón Velasquez, the Minister of Industry, Hipólito Abreu, and the superintendent of the Seniat (Treasury), José David Cabello.
The act, although symbolic, has been full of emotion and celebration on the Venezuelan side, where balloons were released into the air with the colors of the flag of both countries, and some 50 people came to applaud and shout celebration slogans.
Dressed in white guayabera, Petro and the members of the Venezuelan delegation witnessed the passage of the first Venezuelan gandola (truck) that crossed the border loaded with 32 tons of iron to the Colombian side.
To give the act a festive touch, the truck, adorned with the Venezuelan flag and with yellow, blue and red balloons, honked its horn as it slowly moved across the Simón Bolívar bridge.
This truck is loaded with two iron coils, each weighing 16 tons, which becomes the first official export between the two countries, by land, and in the last seven years.
“That what is going to happen today is for the prosperity of the people of Norte de Santander and Colombia”, Petro declared before beginning the act.
Minutes later, a Colombian truck, also adorned with its flag and loaded with medicines, passed the bridge in the direction of Venezuela.
Petro and his foreign ministers, Álvaro Leyva; of Commerce, Industries and Tourism, Germán Umaña, and of Transportation, Guillermo Rayes, as well as the Venezuelan delegation witnessed the passage of the first trucks.
Along with them, a crowd of citizens from the two countries located on the Colombian side of the bridge saw the passing of the trucks shouting “!live!”.
Those who attended even hung a long Venezuelan flag on the fences on the side of the bridge, which they waved as the trucks passed.
The Simón Bolívar bridge connects the Colombian town of Villa del Rosario, in the metropolitan area of Cúcuta, capital of the department of Norte de Santander, with the Venezuelan city of San Antonio, in the state of Táchira.