Venezuelans lined up at two international bridges leading to Colombia on Saturday, as the border between the countries opened for the first time in four months, NPR reports.
Thousands of people crossed over, seeking food, medicine and basic supplies. For months, Venezuelans have been dealing with power outages, hyperinflation and increased violence due to the deepening political and economic crises in the country.
In a tweet announcing the move, Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolas Maduro, ordered the reopening of the border with Colombia on Friday. “We are a people of peace who firmly defend our independence and self-determination,” Maduro’s tweet read.
The border with Colombia was closed earlier this year in an attempt by Maduro’s government to block opposition and humanitarian groups from delivering foreign aid to Venezuelans in need. Venezuela’s borders with Brazil and the island of Aruba were also closed, NPR added.
Maduro is in a power struggle with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly who declared himself Venezuela’s president in January. Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela’s rightful head of state by more than 50 countries, including the United States.
Recently, the two sides have entered into talks in Oslo, Norway, but they have not come away with significant results, NPR notes.