The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, held an unexpected meeting in Caracas this Saturday with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro, days after the total reopening of the border between the two countries and the failed announcement of a truce with the ELN guerrillas.
The meeting between the two leftist leaders lasted for about three hours at 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.
The first left-wing Colombian president left the Palace after 5:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. GMT), with another handshake, but without offering any statements to the media, AFP journalists confirmed.
“We had a broad and very fruitful meeting,” Maduro wrote on his Twitter account after the meeting, which was republished by Petro. “We have a clear path of joint work that will continue to give positive results for our countries, in different areas. Long live the union between Colombia and Venezuela!” said the socialist president.
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 in 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 signing of a peace agreement 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).
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 the Inter-American Human Rights System. They also signed a declaration to activate “joint security mechanisms” on the 2,200-km common border, heavily affected by drug trafficking, smuggling, and armed groups.
That same month, the leaders met in Egypt during the COP27 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 Iván Duque, gave to opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom he recognized as president in charge because he considered that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was fraudulent.
Petro is scheduled to meet on Monday with his Chilean counterpart, Gabriel Borich, also a leftist, during a state visit to that country.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.