Colombia and Venezuela Restore Diplomatic Relations

By Dialogo
August 17, 2010

Only weeks after Venezuela severed relations with former Colombian
administration, both countries announced on Aug. 10 that they have reestablished
diplomatic relations.

Announcing, “We’re here seeking the re-establishment of relations between two
sister countries,” newly inaugurated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
arrived in Santa Marta, Colombia to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo
Chavez, who arrived with red roses in hand and a tight security detail.

The meeting took place at a colonial estate where 19th-century independence
hero – and Chavez’s inspiration for his socialist movement – Simon
Bolivar died in 1830. Expressing optimism that they will “rebuild what was broken to
pieces” Chavez said it was appropriate to make amends at a place he considers
sacred, according to reports from the Associated Press (AP).

Both Santos and Chavez have common interests, including rebuilding trade,
which reached six billion dollars a year in 2008 and has fallen dramatically since
2009, after Chavez froze relations between the two to protest Colombia’s decision to
grant the U.S. military expanded access to its military bases in Colombian
territory, according to AP.

The decision hurt the economies on both sides of their 2,000-kilometer