Venezuelans cross into Colombia to buy food

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 07:39 GMT, Jul 11, 2016 |

Thousands of residents of Venezuela, where a severe economic crisis has caused unprecedented shortages of basic goods, crossed the border on yesterday (Sunday) to neighbouring Colombia to buy food and medicine, taking advantage of a temporary border opening.

Although Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the border in Tachira to close to crack down on smuggling, on Sunday, Tachira Governor José Vielma opened the border crossings for 12 hours.

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.

“We are hungry. We are in need. There is no market and, where they do sell, there is such commotion that people hurt each other to buy any little thing,” said Eliodora Vera.

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.