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Venezuela, Colombia say cross-border bridge to open New Year’s Day

Caracas, Dec 31 (EFE).- The Venezuelan and Colombian governments confirmed Saturday that a cross-border bridge which sat unused for nearly eight years due to troubled bilateral relations will open New Year’s Day to all vehicular traffic.

“Everything is ready for the inauguration of the Atanasio Girardot Binational Bridge. We continue taking firm steps toward border normalization with our sister Colombia,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Twitter.

The two nations are working to advance “the well-being and prosperity” of their citizens, he wrote.

The re-opening of the crossing “is one more demonstration of reciprocal confidence” between the neighbors, according to Colombia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Armando Benedetti.

Sunday’s inauguration of the bridge, commonly known as Tienditas, will be “a great start to the year,” the envoy said.

Built a decade ago to connect the Venezuelan state of Tachira with Colombia’s Norte de Santander province, the span remained blocked for years due to tensions between Caracas and Bogota that culminated in 2019 with a rupture in diplomatic relations.

Caracas severed ties after Colombia’s then-rightist government recognized an opposition lawmaker, Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s acting president.

Venezuelan Transport Minister Ramon Velasquez Araguayan said earlier Saturday that repairs to the bridge, which was damaged in 2019 during an attempt by Guaido to cross over from Colombia with a convoy ostensibly carrying humanitarian aid, were complete.

The bridge has been equipped with eight customs and immigration checkpoints and parking areas to conduct inspections of freight trucks and passenger buses.

Businesses on both sides of the border are expecting a boon to the local economies. EFE gcs/dr

Source : LaprensaLatina