Venezuela on Monday announced to expand the restriction of traffic between Colombia and its neighbor to the east in order to curb contraband and prevent “national security threats.”
According to an announcement made by the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, border authorities have been ordered to “restrict people and vehicle’s border crossings by land, air and water” between 10PM until 5AM.
Until now, restrictions were only applied to transporters who have been unable to legally cross the border between 6PM and 5AM.
The notification said that the measures were to “protect the inviolability of the borders, combat contraband and prevent the activity of persons who could represent threats to the security” of Venezuela.
The Venezuelan government is facing ongoing economic and political instability and accuses Colombian businesses of fueling the black market of scarce goods while accusing right-wing Colombian armed groups of trying to help the Venezuelan opposition to “overthrow the government.”
The initial closing of the borders after dark has received criticism from Colombia that has said to be “in disagreement” with the “unilateral” decision to close the borders after dark.
“We do not believe that closing the border is the measure that will control contraband. This contraband must be controlled by other, internal measures,” Colombian foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said in August, days after Venezuela’s initial restrictions.
Venezuela and Colombia share a 1,400-mile border that stretches from the Caribbean coast in the north to the Amazon jungles in the south.