The Foreign Ministers of Colombia and Venezuela will meet in New York next week to discuss Caracas’ recent decision to close the border between the countries at night, reported local media on Wednesday.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Maria Angela Holguin, will meet with the new Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez in New York where both ministers will be next week to mark the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly of the UN.
“Let’s talk about the border, we have said several times that we diplomatically disagree with the closure of the border and we will also assess the progress that has been made concerning the issue of smuggling,” said the minister.
Last month the Venezuelan government launched night closures of the border to counter the smuggling of Venezuelan products to Colombia. On September 11 President Nicolas Maduro decided to extend it for three months.
According to the government of Juan Manuel Santos, closing the border at night does not solve the problem of illegal trade in goods or contribute to bilateral integration.
This smuggling is costing Venezuela millions that, despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, suffers from a continuing deterioration of their economic situation.
The flow of commodities and agricultural inputs from Venezuela is fueled by price controls and exchange rates in effect since 2003, which created a gap sometimes 10 to 1 between the official values and the black market or in neighboring countries.
At the same time, the Venezuelan economy faces inflation exceeding 60% while more than one in four commodities are in scarce supply.
Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,200 mile border.
- Colombia reitera su desacuerdo en cierre de frontera (Portafolio)