The Colombian Consulate in San Cristóbal, western Venezuela, which had closed its doors in 2019, returned to operation this Friday with an opening ceremony that was attended by Venezuelan authorities and representatives of Táchira State sectors.
Anggy Polanco // Correspondent lapatilla.com
The consul designated for this office, David Hadad Clavijo, announced that the consulate will implement a contingency plan to provide service to users residing in five states of Venezuela: Mérida, Trujillo, Apure, Barinas and Táchira, which do not have their own consular office. To do this, they will use an access by ID number system to serve about 80 or 100 people a day.
Hadad reported that they will initially process passports, visas, proof of life, civil registration, exit permits for minors, among other documents, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m., approximately, at its main office in Barrio Obrero.
In his reopening speech, the consul stated that they will work in coordination with the authorities of Táchira State, to promote the cultural, social and economic issues between Norte de Santander Department and Táchira.
“Our interest is not only to serve people, but to serve them with dignity, so that huge lines and long waits are not generated, particularly for the elderly and the children. We are going to have a controlled system so that the service is provided appropriately,” he said.
However, the Consulate of San Cristóbal, like that of San Antonio, will still not be able to issue identity cards, because the consulate is waiting for National Registry equipment necessary to carry out the identification and nationalization process. Therefore, to obtain this document, people will have to wait several days until the machines arrive.
Taking into account the serious electrical energy problems experienced in Venezuela, the consular office will have an electrical power plant so that the service is not interrupted.
Germán Castañeda Benavides, envoy of the Colombian Foreign Ministry, stated that the opening of this office not only reestablishes the consular rights of fellow citizens, but also fulfills the mandate of President Gustavo Petro to advance the process of reestablishing diplomatic and consular relations between Colombia and Venezuela.
He said that they see with satisfaction that bilateral trade has grown in the first half of 2023, exceeding the goal of 400 million dollars, and next week a binational macro business roundtable that had not been held for 12 years, will be held in Caracas.
Castañeda assured that more and more Colombians want to do tourism in Venezuela, get to know its beaches, jungles and highlands, and it is convenient to advance these aspects in unison to facilitate tourism between the two countries.
He highlighted that recently a Venezuelan commission traveled to Bogotá to receive training in biosafety, which demonstrates the advancement of exchanges between Colombia and Venezuela beyond tourism and transit.
Likewise, Silfredo Zambrano, Mayor of San Cristóbal, said that they have been talking with the consul of San Cristóbal about various aspects such as safety and good treatment of Colombians who come to the region and have even proposed that they be able to visit Táchira only requiring their identity card.