The 35,000 Venezuelans who crossed the border Sunday to the Colombian city of Cucuta to buy food and medicines unavailable in their own country returned home without difficulties, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Venezuelans’ entry was made possible by the temporary extension of the humanitarian corridor on the common border to facilitate the purchase of medicines and food items, the Colombian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The border crossing between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Venezuelan town of San Antonio has remained closed since Aug. 19 of last year by order of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, for the purpose of combating contraband and the supposed paramilitary troops operating in the area.
Sunday’s crossing became possible after Maduro authorized the opening of the border for several hours.
The process of Venezuelans returning to their country after doing their shopping was supervised by civilian, military and immigration authorities who guaranteed that their reentry would go off without a hitch, the Foreign Ministry’s statement said.
In that regard, it said the extension of the open corridor is “a humanitarian alternative that will be reviewed with the competent authorities” in Venezuela.
“For that purpose, local and national contacts have been initiated by Venezuela that will permit greater clarity and organization of these procedures,” the note said
It also said the official channels of communication “should continue to be the Foreign Ministries of the two countries,” adding that “effective coordination with national and regional authorities wil help the opening requested by communities on the border to be managed in a safe, organized way to avoid any kind of ordeal.”
The ministry also said the crossing of Venezuelans into Colombia on Sunday “should be analyzed at the bilateral roundtables planned for the coming days,” at which the conditions and timing of a safe, positive reopening of the common border will be determined. EFE