Bogota (CNN) Colombia and Venezuela have reestablished diplomatic relations, in a tectonic shift in South American regional politics.
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Colombian ambassador Armando Benedetti met on Monday with Venezuelan authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.
“At this hour I’m received by President Nicolas Maduro, to whom I present diplomatic papers as Colombia’s ambassador in Venezuela. We talked about the urgency to revive friendship ties that should have never been severed,” Benedetti said on Twitter, posting several photos of himself with Maduro.
Venezuela’s ambassador to Colombia, Felix Plasencia, is scheduled to meet Colombian President Gustavo Petro in the upcoming days.
The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 2019, when Colombia’s then-president Ivan Duque recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state.
However, Colombia and Venezuela were part of the same country in the 19th century and share deep historical and cultural ties.
Reviving the relationship with Venezuela was a campaign promise of Petro, who took office on August 7 and is the country’s first left-wing president. Petro has sought to also make international ties with new progressives, such as the United States’ Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Venezuela is one of the most outspoken foes of US policy in the western hemisphere. Colombia meanwhile is a close ally to Washington, and US troops regularly conduct joint operations with their Colombian counterparts.