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Venezuela closes border with Colombia to deter smuggling

Each evening for one month the border between Venezuela and Colombia will be closed in order to deter smuggling.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   Aug. 12, 2014 at 1:04 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Venezuela has secured its 1,360-mile border with Colombia as part of an anti-smuggling operation.

Venezuela is attempting to crack down on the illegal export of many basic staples, including bread. In January, residents of the Venezuelan states of Tachira and Merida protested in the streets over the shortage of basic goods, subsequent crime and high inflation.

Each evening, beginning Monday, the border will be closed for one month from 6:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. local time. "There is plenty of evidence to show that most of the smuggling is done overnight," noted Tachira's governor, Jose Vielma Mora.

Venezuela's deployment of 17,000 troops "will be enough to guarantee security," said Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who is overseeing the operation.

The move was undertaken with the approval of the Colombian government.

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