This image perhaps captures the enormity of the unprecedented food and medicine crisis that Venezuela is currently facing. Around 1 lakh Venezuelans crossed over to Colombia to hunt for food and medicine. The border between Venezuela and Colombia was opened over the weekend to allow people to cross over and purchase essentials.
This is the second weekend in a row that Venezuela’s socialist government opened the long-closed border with Colombia, and a line of would-be shoppers snaked through the entire town of San Antonio del Tachira. Some people even travelled in chartered buses from cities 10 hours away to cross the border.
Today: Venezuelans crossing the border to buy food in Colombia., pic.twitter.com/e7YVZ5IBKQ
— Moisés Naím (@MoisesNaim) 17 July 2016
Venezuela is facing severe food shortage and inflation has reached triple-digits. Currency controls have restricted imports and investment and the world oil price slump has caused a collapse in the oil revenues that fund government spending.
Venezuela’s government had closed all crossings a year ago to crack down on smuggling along the border. It had complained that speculators were causing shortages by buying up subsidized food and gasoline in Venezuela and taking them to Colombia, where they could be sold for far higher prices.
The border was heavily patrolled by Venezuelan troops. Roadside kiosks set up by entrepreneurs took payment in Venezuela’s currency for goods at a steep discount from what they cost on the black market back home.
(With inputs from Agencies)