August 22, 2019
Latest News

Colombia-Venezuela border crossings reopen to pedestrian traffic

Cucuta, Colombia, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- Border crossings between the Venezuelan state of Tachira and the Colombian province of Norte de Santander reopened Saturday to pedestrian traffic after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued an order to that effect the day before.

Venezuelan authorities have begun allowing thousands of people to freely move from one side of the border to the other, most of whom were heading in the direction of the Colombian city of Cucuta and carrying or dragging suitcases with them, EFE observed on the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, the most important of the four crossings that link Tachira with Norte de Santander.

Maduro ordered the reopening of the border crossings between those two regions more than three months after closing them on Feb. 22, a day before Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly speaker Juan Guaido unsuccessfully tried to force in United States-donated humanitarian supplies from Colombia to alleviate food and medicine shortages in Venezuela.

"In full exercise of our sovereignty, I have ordered the opening of the border crossings with Colombia in Tachira State, as of this Saturday #8Jun. We are peaceful people who firmly defend our independence and self-determination," Maduro wrote on Twitter.

The order prompted thousands of people to gather in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday on the Venezuelan side of the Simon Bolivar bridge for the chance to cross the border to Cucuta, whether to buy basic items or to emigrate from their homeland, which has been mired in a years-long economic crisis.

One of those individuals was Merwin Leon, a 38-year-old native of the northern city of Puerto Cabello who was hurrying with his wife to Cucuta and said he planned to continue on to Bucaramanga, capital of the north-central province of Santander.

"I'm going to Bucaramanga to look for medicine for my grandmother, who has high blood pressure," Leon told EFE, adding that crossing over the Simon Bolivar bridge from San Antonio del Tachira to Cucuta was "really quick, with no problems."

Cucuta, the capital of Norte de Santander, is connected to San Antonio by the Simon Bolivar bridge, while the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge links it with the city of UreƱa, also located in Tachira.

A third border crossing that was completed in 2016, the Las Tienditas International Bridge, never entered into service, while the La Union bridge is a smaller structure located between the towns of Puerto Santander, Colombia, (near Cucuta) and Boca del Grita, Venezuela.

Although the crossings have been reopened to pedestrian traffic, vehicles are not allowed to circulate and the bridges remain blocked by large containers that the Venezuelan government set up in February to impede the entry of humanitarian aid from Colombia.

That decision came within the context of a bitter years-long political struggle, which intensified further when Guaido said that Maduro's May 2018 re-election victory was marred by fraud and proclaimed himself interim president this January.

He was subsequently recognized as such by the US, most of the major European countries and several of Venezuela's neighbors, including Colombia.

Maduro, who has retained the loyalty of his country's army, continues to be backed by China, Russia, India and dozens of other countries.

In blocking the aid, Maduro said that assistance was a Trojan horse and that he would be paving the way for a US-led military intervention if he allowed it to enter.

In retaliation for the humanitarian aid incident on Feb. 23, Maduro broke off all relations with Colombia, a country with which Venezuela shares a 2,219-kilometer (1,380-mile) land border.


News history
Still unsafe for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, Amnesty warns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Human rights organization Amnesty International warned Thursday that it was still unsafe for members of the Rohingya ethnic...

Cuba relying on bacteria to end dengue epidemic

Havana, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The dengue epidemic in several Latin American countries is also affecting - albeit to a lesser degree - Cuba, where experts are...

Trump seeks to halt family migration by extending child detentions

By Laura Barros

Czechs denounce current leaders during rally to mark 1969 crackdown

Prague, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Tens of thousands of Czechs held a demonstration here Wednesday in which they remembered countrymen who were killed or injured on...

Brazil's president points finger at NGOs in Amazon fires

Brasilia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro insinuated on Wednesday that non-governmental organizations may be behind the fires in the Amazon, the...

Nepal bans single-use plastics in Everest region

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (EFE).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Thailand starts distribution of medical marihuana to cancer patients

Bangkok, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Thailand has begun the distribution of Cannabis oil targeting terminally ill cancer patients following the approval of a law...

Hungarians revel in a sea of fragrant blooms

Hungarians reveled in a sea of colour and fragrant blooms to marks the 50th Debrecen Flower Festival.

Pogba target of racist slurs for missing penalty against Wolverhampton

London, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been subjected to racist insults on social media after missing a penalty in the...

With no right to divorce, Filipinos are trapped in loveless marriages forever

By Sara Gomez Armas

El Salvador woman pardoned after manslaughter conviction for abortion

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in El Salvador pardoned Evelyn Hernandez, 21, this Monday of the crime of aggravated manslaughter...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio

DNA extracted from turtle shell products in drive to save species

Sydney, Australia, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- Scientists have extracted DNA from products made out of hawksbill turtle shells in a bid to save a species that is...

European Commission president cuts Austria vacation short for urgent surgery

Brussels, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has had to cut his vacation in Austria short for medical...

FAO: 39 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America

Montevideo, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a...

Death toll in dengue outbreak hits 40 in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- At least 40 people have died from dengue in Bangladesh, with over 50,000 cases reported throughout the country since January,...

Dirt-floor shacks a perpetual symbol of Argentina's gaping social divide

By Tono Gil

UNICEF: Rohingya child refugees despair over lack of access to education

Dhaka, Aug 16 (efe-epa) - Lack of access to formal education is leading to frustration and despair among young Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh,...

Pacific Islands Forum ends with lukewarm declaration against climate change

Sydney, Australia, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The Pacific Islands Forum ended on Thursday night in Funafuti, the capital of island nation Tuvalu, without a...

Salvadoran woman hopeful of acquittal in retrial for stillbirth

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison after a stillborn delivery was back in court here...

Scientists detect microplastic particles in the snow

Berlin, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A team of German and Swiss scientists have detected the presence of microplastic particles in the snow of the Arctic and the Alps...

Nora Quoirin died of internal bleeding from stress or lack of food: police

Bangkok Desk, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- The London schoolgirl found dead in a Malaysian jungle two days ago died from internal bleeding likely caused by lack of...

Pell's appeal against child sexual abuse convictions to be decided on Aug. 21

Sydney, Australia, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- An Australian cardinal convicted to six years in prison for abusing two boys in the 1990s will find out the fate of...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.