Colombian President Gustavo Petro held a meeting this Saturday in Caracas with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, days after the full reopening of the border between both countries and the failed announcement of a truce with the ELN guerrillas.
(See: The Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has a new president).
The meeting between the two leaders lasted for about three hours in the Miraflores Presidential Palace, where Maduro received Petro without military honors. Only one truck arrived in front of the so-called Golden Gate, where they greeted each other with a handshake.
“We had a large and very fruitful meeting“Maduro wrote on his Twitter account after the meeting, which was republished by Petro. “We have a clear joint work path that will continue to yield positive results for our countries, in different areas. Long live the union between Colombia and Venezuela!“added the Venezuelan ruler.
With the President of the Republic of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, we had a broad and very fruitful meeting. We have a clear joint work path that will continue to yield positive results for our countries, in different areas. Long live the union between Colombia and Venezuela! pic.twitter.com/Gi4fDnZgZF
— Nicolas Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 7, 2023
(See: Venezuela would be on the verge of another hyperinflation).
The third meeting between the two leaders, the second to be held in Caracas, took place a week after the total reopening of the common border crossings, which were completely closed in 2019 after the break of diplomatic relations.
But also, after the announcement of a six-month truce with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) by Petro on December 31, which was later denied by the insurgents.
Venezuela is a guarantor in the negotiations that seek to emulate a peace agreement signed with this guerrilla, such as the one reached in 2016 by the government of then-President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
(See: The challenges that remain on the border with Venezuela after reopening).
Petro visited Maduro on November 1, the first official arrival of a Colombian president in Venezuela in nine years.
In that meeting, both advocated for the reinstatement of Venezuela in the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and to Inter-American Human Rights System.
(See: Is the Venezuelan economy showing signs of recovery?).
Also, they signed a statement to activate “joint security mechanisms” on the common border of 2,200 km, badly hit by drug trafficking, smuggling and armed groups.
In that same November, the leaders met in Egypt during the COP 27 environmental summit to promote an alliance for the protection of the Amazon.
Caracas broke diplomatic relations with Bogotá in 2019 after the support that Petro’s predecessor, the right-wing Ivan Duke, gave the opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom he recognized as president in charge for considering that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was fraudulent.
Petro has scheduled a meeting, on Monday, January 9, with his Chilean counterpart, also a leftist Gabriel Boric, during a state visit to that country.