Thousands of Venezuelans cross border to buy food, medicine from Colombia

| Updated: Jul 17, 2016 23:43 IST

Washington, July 17 (ANI): At least 35, 000 Venezuelans crossed the border and entered Colombia to buy food and medicines after the authorities briefly opened the border that has been closed for almost a year. Colombia's Foreign Ministry said that at least 35,000 Venezuelans entered Colombia on Saturday, adding their entry took place "in an orderly manner and under conditions of security." The border was opened for roughly eight hours and will be opened again on Sunday, the ministry said. A similar measure last week led to dramatic scenes of the elderly and mothers storming Colombian supermarkets and highlighted how daily life has deteriorated for millions in Venezuela after its economy has been in a freefall since the 2014 crash in oil prices, reports the Guardian. Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said, "We have made a great effort to have sufficient supplies for the Venezuelans expected to stream across the border on Saturday and Sunday." Venezuelan President Maduro blames the shortages of basic staples on his opponents, whom he accuses of trying to sow economic chaos to oust him while his critics accuse his socialist government of economic mismanagement. President Maduro ordered the 2,219 kilometre border shut in August 2015 to put a check on criminal gangs smuggling goods and gasoline sold at subsidised prices in Venezuela. (ANI)