Venezuela, Colombia to keep pedestrian border closed

Caracas (Venezuela), July 20 (IANS) Venezuela and Colombia have announced that the border between the two South American countries will remain closed over the next few weeks after having been briefly opened over the last weekend.

The Colombian government on Tuesday said some 130,000 Venezuelans crossed the border last weekend when Venezuela allowed its citizens to walk across the Simon Bolivar Bridge — the second time the border was open in a year, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier this month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government decided to reopen the crossing after a group of at least 500 women tried to break a military cordon to get into the Colombian city of Cucuta on July 5 to buy basic items.

They crossed to buy basic goods that are in short supply in their country because of a severe economic crisis.

Many in Venezuela say they have struggled to feed their families as the country has suffered severe shortages for months. This is a result of the falling price of oil which is Venezuela’s prime source of income.

Supermarkets have empty shelves and people spend days in queues to buy basic goods.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure in August last year ostensibly to fight cross-border crime. He said the area had been infiltrated by Colombian paramilitaries and gangs.



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