(CNN Spanish) — Colombia and Venezuela began the process of reestablishing bilateral relations with the arrival of ambassadors Armando Benedetti and Félix Plasencia in Caracas and Bogotá, respectively.
Armando Benedetti arrived in Caracas this Sunday, who was appointed by President Gustavo Petro as the new ambassador of Colombia in Venezuela, to restore bilateral relations that were broken in 2019, when the government of Iván Duque recognized Juan Guaidó as interim president of that country.
Benedetti told several media outlets that this Monday at 5 p.m. (local time) he will receive the credentials from the president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro and commented that he will take advantage of that meeting to ask when the president will be able to meet with Petro.
The Colombian ambassador, who arrived accompanied by his wife, was received by Rander Peña, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela.
Carlos Faria, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, welcomed the Colombian ambassador on his Twitter account. “We enthusiastically welcome the Ambassador of Colombia in our country, Armando Benedetti @AABenedetti, confident and full of hope that this will be a new beginning to deepen the ties of brotherhood and cooperation between our peoples and thus move forward together into the future,” Faria detailed.
“We ratify the will of the #GovernmentOfChange with the reestablishment of relations with Venezuela and attention to Colombians. We began to work for the reconstruction of the social and human fabric that unites us,” the Colombian government wrote on Twitter about Benedetti’s arrival. to Caracas.
With the arrival of the Ambassador @AABenedetti to Caracas, we ratify the will of the #GovernmentOfChange with the reestablishment of relations with Venezuela and attention to Colombians. We started working for the reconstruction of the social and human fabric that unites us.🇨🇴🇻🇪 pic.twitter.com/FMGXzqMYH1
– Colombia Presidency 🇨🇴 (@infopresidencia) August 28, 2022
Meanwhile, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the arrival of Félix Plasencia, appointed ambassador of Venezuela, to Bogotá.
The diplomat announced on his Instagram account that, as instructed by President Nicolás Maduro, he had arrived in Colombia “to present the Letters of Credence to the Government of this nation. We are eager to advance in the Diplomacy of Peace in this second opportunity that we provides the story of restarting diplomatic relations between two sister nations.”
“I’m happy to be in Bogotá, this beautiful, beautiful city. It received me today with a wonderful climate; beautiful, rich and to work. A lot of work. Ambassador Benedetti has already arrived in Caracas,” Presencia said upon arriving in Colombia.
The first steps to reestablish relationships
Benedetti told journalists in Caracas that the first and most important step in this new phase of bilateral relations is to restore diplomacy between the two countries. That includes both the diplomatic issue and trade relations, one of the priorities of the two governments.
“We are going to reestablish relations with Venezuela, we are going to reestablish trade from which more than 8 million Colombians live, we are going to look for an economic zone, tax exemptions and legislation that allows the Colombian government to invest in works that have an impact on development of the region”, said Benedetti, quoted in a statement from the Colombian government.
Upon his arrival in Caracas, Benedetti told reporters that “there are several ideas” to restore trade relations between Bogota and Caracas.
“There are several ideas: among them, creating a special economic zone on both sides. And in my country legislation would have to be passed so that it can invest in hospitals, in bridges, in works, infrastructure, that really have an impact on development” Benedetti said this Sunday.
According to the Colombian ambassador in Venezuela, this Monday he will present credentials to the Maduro government and then they will begin to discuss issues such as the reactivation of flights between the two countries, as well as a possible meeting between Petro and Maduro.
Another concern of the Colombian government is the reactivation of the consular presence in the neighboring country. For this reason, according to Benedetti, the consulates of Caracas, San Cristobal and Maracaibo will open very soon.
“To all our nationals I share that we have come to Venezuela to serve them. From the Government of President Petro, and in the role that corresponds to us, we will make every effort to attend to all your needs, we will listen to you, and from today we will begin to work to correct the apathy to which you have been subjected in recent years, for lack of consular, social and human attention, so necessary for each one of you”, said Benedetti.
Colombia and Venezuela share an extensive land border of 2,219 kilometers and a historical, cultural, commercial and brotherly relationship and diplomatic relations dating from November 27, 1831according to the Colombian Foreign Ministry.