(Vatican Radio) Thousands of hungry and needy Venezuelans crossed the border into Colombia, for a second time this month, to buy the bare necessities. James Blears reports about another twelve hour window of opportunity.
Heavily armed with umbrellas, to combat torrential rain, thousands of Venezuelans went shopping in Colombia for food, medicines and even toilet rolls, which can`t be found in their own supermarkets. Some took eight hours to be bused to the San Antonio Del Táchira crossing, leading to Cucuta in Colombia.
Smuggling of subsidised foods and gasoline into Colombia, led to armed gangs- one of which attacked and wounded three Venezuelan soldiers last August and since then, a sealed Border has created this bottleneck.
Venezuela`s President Nicolas Maduro blames international enemies combining with home grown subversives, sabotaging the economy. The Opposition insists it`s decades of sole dependence on the declining petroleum industry , rampant corruption in official circles and chronic mismanagement. Whoever`s to blame the common economic denominator is deprivation. Many are now calling for the Border to be completely, officially and permanently re-opened so the bridge between the two countries can serve as a vital lifeline in a time of severe recession.