On Monday Venezuela will close its border with Colombia at night

Monday, 11/08/2014

Quito, Aug 10 (Andes).- Venezuela will close its border with Colombia in the evenings starting next Monday, in order to combat smuggling which is costing the country millions. Venezuela has the world’s cheapest gasoline and good control of food and commodity prices.

The “scheduled closure of the border with Colombia” will be between 22h00 (02h30 GMT) and 5:00 am (9:30 am GMT), and will seek to “strengthen sovereign policies for combating extraction smuggling from Venezuela to Colombia,” reported Saturday state news AVN.

“This is a closure along the entire border, i.e. the 2,200 km border between Venezuela and Colombia,” stated the military command in charge of the operation, Vladimir Padrino López, from the border state of Zulia and one of the main points of passage of contraband.

In that sense, it will also restrict the transit of freight of all kinds, from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am, in order to combat food and fuel smuggling on the border.

According to the Venezuelan government, the border closure was agreed between President Nicolas Maduro and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos during the meeting held on August 1 in Cartagena, Colombia, and in which the contraband was the main item on the agenda.

On Friday, Maduro appointed Padrino Lopez head of Strategic Command of the Armed Forces; and Vice President Jorge Arreaza head of Staff civilian-military Border, which will combat smuggling.

Padrino López explained that so far in 2014, there has been a seizure of 40 million liters of gasoline and 21,000 tons of food in actions against smuggling.

As part of this operation, according to the government announcement, the food distribution centers will be monitored, particularly in border areas, and the passage of freight vehicles will be restricted to 18h00 (22h30 GMT) to 5:00 am (09h30 GMT).

Less than a candy

In Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves, as well as the cheapest gasoline in the world, to fill the tank of a car costs less than a candy or a bottle of water, which for years has led to a fuel smuggling to Colombia where you have to pay $ 1.18 per liter of fuel.

In the past year it has also increased the transfer of food and commodities to Colombia, many of them imported and with a controlled price. Their cost can be up to 10 times higher than in the neighboring country.

Colombia’s economy has also been affected by this freight traffic as products smuggled from Venezuela are sold at bargain prices to the detriment of local commerce.

In the match between Santos and Maduro, it was agreed to implement actions to combat smuggling and create “command centers and joint control” in the common border.

According to the Venezuelan government, smuggling across the border covers 40% of commodities, plus 100,000 barrels of oil, equivalent to annual losses of $3.650 million.

Another factor that influences the illegal trade to Colombia is the exchange difference, since most of the food and commodities estimated in Venezuela are in official rates between 6.30 and 11.00 per dollar, while on the black market dollar exceeds 70 bolivars.

Original article: http://www.andes.info.ec/en/news/monday-venezuela-will-close-its-border-colombia-night.html