The Venezuela-Colombia trade organization has warned that the current curfew measures on the border between the two countries doesn’t serve as solution, Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper reported on Tuesday.
In an attempt to curb the contraband across the Colombian and Venezuelan border Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro implemented a controversial measure on August 7 by closing the border at night, according to El Espectador.
The Chamber of Venezuelan and Colombian Economic Integration (Cavecol) has urged Venezuelan government to amend the nightly border “curfew” from 10 pm to 5 am.
“The temporary closure of the border, or any other measure of police control, does not serve as a solution to the bottom of the problem,” a spokesperson said, quoted in El Espectador.
Leading economists in the state of Norte de Santander, which neighbors Venezuela, agreed that the closing of the border is arbitrary in its effect, because formal traders lose money and customers can not cross the border with their goods at night, according to El Tiempo.
Colombian traders and truckers have expressed their frustration and dissatisfaction with the “curfew” through protests, demanding an end to the measure, which the Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin has stated is a unilateral decision made by Venezuelan government, El Espectador wrote.
Protest on the international bridge of Simon Bolivar between Colombian city Cucuta and Venezuelan city San Antonio were dissolved with gas by police Monday, El Tiempo reported.
Colombian protesters complained that private persons with a bag of sugar could not cross the border, but allegedly when the military guarding the border received money larger shipments were allowed to pass, reported Colombian newspaper El Heraldo.
Cavecol isn’t ‘for or against’ curfew
According to El Espectador Cavecol stresses that it is not against the closing of the border neither are they in support of it. The organization argues that the measure has to be evaluated, not solely according to smuggling but also in accordance with the quality of life in the border area.
Venezuelan government have described the results of the “curfew” as extraordinary, claiming that the total amount of confiscations in the less than two weeks exceeding the amount in all of 2013.
In the first quarter of 2014 trade between Colombia and Venezuela hit $578 million of which Colombia accounted for $460 million and Venezuela the remaining $118 million, according to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal.
- Exigen más medidas en la frontera colombo-venezolana para atacar el contrabando (El Espectador)
- Manifestantes bloquean en Cúcuta frontera entre Colombia y Venezuela (El Heraldo)
- Policía disolvió bloqueo en puente internacional de Cúcuta (El Tiempo)
- Cavecol: Colombian clothing chains in Venezuela weigh shutdown (El Universal)