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Back Channel Emerges to Reopen Colombia, Venezuela Border

  • Local officials hold talks amid lack of formal diplomatic ties
  • Meetings laid groundwork for partial reopening this week
Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge near the Venezuelan border in Cucuta, Colombia, on Oct. 7. 
Venezuelans cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge near the Venezuelan border in Cucuta, Colombia, on Oct. 7. Photographer: Ferley Ospina/Bloomberg

Officials on the Colombia and Venezuela border have developed a back channel for communications, bypassing the drawn out diplomatic impasse between the two governments, and are negotiating the restoration of some bilateral relations.

The representatives from state governments in the border region began meeting around three months ago to discuss issues such as cross-border trade, according to three people with knowledge of the talks who asked for anonymity as the discussions are private. The meetings laid the groundwork for Venezuela’s decision this week to reopen the land border for commercial purposes.