Colombia will not allow more temporary border openings to allow Venezuelans shop for goods that have become scarce in the neighboring country, the country’s foreign minister said Monday.
Instead, the governments of both countries will continue negotiations that seek the permanent opening of the border once there is agreement on security measures.
Venezuela closed the border a year ago citing long-standing security issues.
However, since then the socialist-run country’s economy has deteriorated to the point that Venezuelans are unable to buy basic food products, goods like toilet paper and medicine.
After a spontaneous incursion of some 500 women little more than three weeks ago, border authorities of both Colombia and Venezuela allowed Venezuelans in the border regions to cross the border and shop in Colombia for 12 hours the past two weekends.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took the opportunity to shop for much-needed goods.
However, “next weekend there will be no passage for Venezuelans seen last weekend and the one before,” said Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin.
Instead, she said, “we will work towards a quick reopening of the border, but a safe border.”
Top government officials have been meeting for weeks to discuss joint security policies that seek to curb smuggling and drug trafficking that have plagued the neglected border region for decades.