The Americas

Venezuela and Colombia agree to gradual reopening of border

  • Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, speaks next to his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during their meeting in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The two South American leaders met to assess the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and to discuss the possibility of reopening of border crossings closed now for almost a year. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, speaks next to his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during their meeting in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The two South American leaders met to assess the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and to discuss the possibility of reopening of border crossings closed now for almost a year. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, right, and Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos, pose for photos after Santos arrived for their meeting in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The two South American leaders met Thursday to assess the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and to discuss the possibility of reopening of border crossings closed now for almost a year. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, right, and Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos, pose for photos after Santos arrived for their meeting in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The two South American leaders met Thursday to assess the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and to discuss the possibility of reopening of border crossings closed now for almost a year. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, speaks next to his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during their meeting in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The two South American leaders met to assess the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and to discuss the possibility of reopening of border crossings closed now for almost a year. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, speaks next to his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during their meeting in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The two South American leaders met to assess the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, and to discuss the possibility of reopening of border crossings closed now for almost a year. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuela and Colombia have agreed on the gradual reopening of their border one year after the Venezuelan government closed crossings to crack down on smuggling.

The announcement came after Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia met Thursday.

They agreed to begin the process starting Saturday. Officials will open five border checkpoints for pedestrians from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

Venezuelans have been desperate to cross into Colombia to buy food and medicine as shortages worsen in their economically struggling country.

Hundreds of Venezuelans stormed a border checkpoint in July and illegally crossed into Colombia for the day to go grocery shopping. In the weeks following that incident, Venezuela temporarily opened the border for short periods to allow people to buy food and medicine.