MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has instructed the authorities to open the country's border with Colombia, which has been closed since February amid an escalation of a political crisis in Venezuela.
"In order to fully ensure our sovereignty, I have ordered to open border crossings with Colombia in the state of Tachira beginning on Saturday, June 8. We are a peaceful nation which strongly protects our independence and self-determination," Maduro wrote on Twitter late on Friday.
En ejercicio pleno de nuestra soberanía, he ordenado la apertura de los pasos fronterizos con Colombia en el Estado Táchira, a partir de este sábado #8Jun. Somos un pueblo de paz que defiende firmemente nuestra independencia y autodeterminación.— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) June 7, 2019
Back in March, Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s minister of Communication and Information, said that Venezuela would not open crossings on the country's border with Colombia as long as there is a risk of aggression toward Venezuela from its neighbour.
Rodriguez called at the time to respect the country's border and urged Ivan Duque, the president of Colombia, to "stop any aggressive attempts against Venezuela, stop supporting violent or aggressive groups that are currently [operating] near the border".
Nicolas Maduro voiced strong opposition to the convoy, deeming it a pretext for a US invasion, and ordered the closure of the nation’s borders in a bid to halt the deliveries.
Colombia has also subsequently announced the partial closure of its border with Venezuela.
Venezuela is currently going through a deep political and economic crisis. Venezuela’s turmoil worsened as the United States imposed several rounds of tough sanctions against the country after the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido illegally declared himself interim president in late January.
Maduro has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as a US puppet so that Washington can take control of Venezuela’s oil resources.
The United States and 54 countries recognized Guaido, but Russia, China, Turkey, and numerous other countries have said they recognize constitutionally-elected President Nicolas Maduro as the only legitimate head of state in Venezuela.