Venezuela announced on Thursday that it extended the border closure with Colombia that began on Monday with another 72 hours.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro initially ordered the border closing for Monday after removing his country’s highest banknote from the market, giving Venezuelans 72 hours to exchange their money.
At the same time, however, Maduro ordered the border closure, leaving Colombian traders with worthless banknotes.
According to the Venezuelan president, the measure is to prevent Colombian “mafias linked to the right” from re-entering Venezuela.
Maduro, who is facing his country’s worst political, economic and political crisis in recent memory, has often blamed Colombia for the problems facing his own country.
The measure hits Colombian border city Cucuta, whose economy mainly depends on cross-border trade, hardest.
“We already suspected this closure was going to be extended. What worries us now is a new crisis. In three days we’ve had a reduction of 90%” in trade, an anonymous local businessman told Colombian station W Radio.
The extended border closure will last until Sunday.