By Lorraine Gabina – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Thousands of Venezuelan residents, where a severe economic crisis has caused unprecedented shortages of basic goods, crossed the border yesterday to neighbouring Colombia to buy food and medicine, taking advantage of a temporary border opening.
Although Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, ordered the closure of the border to crack down on smuggling, it was opened for 12 hours.
The federal government provided no further details of the measure. When asked, a Venezuelan Foreign Ministry official said he had no information on the subject.
Thousands of Venezuelans spent the night outside the San Antonio del Tachira customs office in anticipation of the opening. Some travelled hours for the opportunity to buy much-needed food, medicine and basic goods.
Local journalists estimated over 15,000 people crossed the border.
Millions of people spend much of their day in long lines at supermarkets and shops to try to buy basic items amid shortages caused by a decline in oil revenues in Venezuela, a country that imports almost everything it consumes, and tight controls exchange and price.