Venezuela: Colombian Border Closed after Dark to Prevent Smuggling
EspañolOn Saturday, the Venezuelan government announced it will close its borders with Colombia at night beginning on Monday, August 11. The policy is aimed at reducing the smuggling of Venezuelan products to the neighboring country.
Vladimiro Padrino, head of the armed forces’ Strategic Operational Command, announced the border with Colombia will be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time beginning Monday. “With this policy, we are increasing mechanisms to reduce smuggling to its lowest possible levels,” he said.
The Venezuelan government’s policy of subsidizing certain products and considerably lowering prices has generated large profits for smugglers. Those looking for a quick profit will buy subsidized products in Venezuela and then cross the border into Colombia and resell them at higher prices.
Venezuelan fuel is subsidized at 40 percent, and authorities say that more than 40 millions liters of gasoline has been smuggled out of the country and into Colombia so far this year. Padrino stated that the government this year has also seized over 21,000 tons of food that smugglers have tried to take across the border, already more than in all of 2013.
Critics claim that the growing disparity in the price of goods between Venezuela and its neighboring countries will likely render this latest border policy shift ineffective in the long term.