The Venezuelan government announced the nightly closure of its border along with deployment of 17,000 troops to patrol the long boundary it shares with with Colombia, local news reported Monday.
Strategic commander of the Venezuelan armed forces Vladimir Lopez Padrino made his announcement from the state of Tachira Monday, where ten senior military and police officers from Colombia are to appear later this week in a joint operation against smuggling, according to reports by Portafolio and El Tiempo.
“We have deployed 17,000 troops across the border, which is sufficient to ensure its security,” said Padrino.
On Saturday, authorities announced that the Venezuelan border will close to regular traffic between 10pm and 6am, and to large trucks between 6pm and dawn in an effort to combat smuggling. The border has been closed since last Thursday.
Venezuelan authorities say that 40% of subsidized goods are smuggled to Colombia for profit, including gasoline, food, and personal goods, reported Portafolio, resulting in losses of millions for the country with the cheapest gasoline in the world.