Venezuelan, Colombian governments coordinate joint actions against COVID-19
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro announced on Monday, March 16, the implementation of a coordination mechanism with the authorities of the Republic of Colombia to face coronavirus in the two Latina American countries, especially on their border.
During a televised speech at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, Caracas, the Venezuelan president informed about the conversations held by Venezuela’s and Colombia’s Health Ministers Carlos Alvarado and Fernando Ruiz, with the participation of Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza.
“It’s the first coordination meeting between the government of Colombia and the government of Venezuela. We did it thanks to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), which is going to establish the protocols to provide healthcare to the Venezuelan-Colombian population along the 2,200 km (1,378 mi) long border,” said President Maduro referring to Caracas’ recurring calls to Bogotá to establish coordination mechanisms in the face of coronavirus.
President Maduro affirmed that Venezuela “is ready and willing” to establish cooperation on the borders by giving precedence to the health of their people.
“We have to give up prides and ideological extremism. They are trivial,” stressed the Venezuelan president.
On March 12, before the first coronavirus case was detected in Venezuela, Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza called on the Colombian and Brazilian governments to give precedence to the protection of their people over their political differences to fight COVID-19.
The call was made by the Venezuelan diplomat after President Nicolás Maduro announced a set of measures aimed at preventing coronavirus in the Latin American country that included the suspension of flights from Europe and Colombia.
Notwithstanding, Colombia’s and Brazil’s foreign affairs ministers refused to answer telephone calls from Caracas.
Days later, Arreaza questioned the “irrational” decision of Duque’s government to unilaterally closed the border.
“Not coordinating actions with Venezuela and closing the legal border checkpoints of such a long, complex and permeable border is Duque’s new irrational decision. This prevents due health control against COVID-19 for people crossing illegal trails,” he wrote on his Twitter account @jaarreaza.
So far, 33 coronavirus cases have been reported in Venezuela. As of Tuesday, March 17, the Venezuelan government decreed a nationwide collective quarantine, a measure adopted to avoid the spread of coronavirus in the Caribbean country.