Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Venezuela re-opens border with Colombia

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has agreed to gradually re-open the country's border with Colombia after closing down travel for eight days in anti-"mafia" efforts.

Maduro made the decision to reopen the border between Venezuela's city of San Antonio del Táchira and Colombia's Cucuta after a phone conversation with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Speaking from Cucuta after meeting with regional authorities, Santos said Colombia needs more of Venezuela's help to combat smuggling. Colombia and Venezuela's 1,400-mile border is porous and highly unregulated, and often is used by smugglers who purchase heavily subsidized goods in Venezuela to resell in Colombia for a profit.

"We need more collaboration from both sides to fight against smuggling, because smuggling does not suit absolutely anyone," Santos said during a televised speech.

The re-opening of the border will allow Venezuelans to travel to Colombia to purchase basic goods, as Venezuela is facing an economic crisis in which items such as food, toiletries and medicines are in short supply, unavailable or unaffordable due to unprecedented inflation.

Maduro last week ordered the border closure shortly after announcing Venezuela's 100 bolivar banknote would be removed from circulation.

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