Venezuela closes Colombia border at night to stop smuggling

Global Business

Venezuela is closing its 22-hundred-kilometer border with neighboring Colombia during the evenings.
It’s the government’s bid to stop an illegal trade that’s disrupting the economy. But as CCTV’s Martin Markovits reports, some doubt the plan will work.

Venezuela closes Colombia border at night to stop smuggling

Venezuela is closing its 22-hundred-kilometer border with neighboring Colombia during the evenings. It's the government's bid to stop an illegal trade that's disrupting the economy. But as CCTV's Martin Markovits reports, some doubt the plan will work.

Illegal cross-border trade between Colombia and Venezuela is quite lucrative. Now, 17-thousand troops are positioned, all across the border, in an effort to stop it. As part of a new initiative by both counties, the border will be closed every night for a one month. Because of Venezuela’s price controls on consumer goods, smugglers would go across the border to Colombia to buy basic staples like food, toilet paper and sugar, then come back to resell the items taking a huge profit.

Gasoline, by far, is the most popular contraband good. In Venezuela one can fill up a tank for the price of a bottle of water. But across the border one can sell gas, on the black market, for at least for 60 times more.

The Venezuelan government estimates 40 percent of the country’s basic commodities are smuggled across the Colombian border. While many are applauding this latest measure to stop the rush of contraband, critics say the problem will only go away once Venezuela removes its price and currency controls. While the nightly border closure will only last 30 days, with the lure of profits so great, many are skeptical such measures will have a significant long-term impact .