BOGOTA, July 18 (UPI) — After more than 123,000 Venezuelans entered Colombia over the weekend to buy basic goods, Colombian officials sent 46 trucks to restock the border town of Cucuta.
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry estimates 35,000 Venezuelans entered on Saturday, while 88,000 entered on Sunday. Venezuelans began queuing at the town of San Antonio del Tachira to cross the Simón Bolívar bridge to reach the Colombian town of Cucuta in the Norte de Santander province. Venezuelans also entered Colombia through the Pedro Maria Ureña international bridge.
The Colombian National Police escorted the 46 trucks to Cucuta after fears of skyrocketing prices and scarcity due to unprecedented demand.
Venezuelans from all over the country traveled to the border crossing to purchase basic goods as Venezuela faces a deepening economic crisis, El Universal reported. The Colombian and Venezuelan border was completely closed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro late last year after three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian were injured in an attack by suspected smugglers in San Antonio del Tachira.
Colombia and Venezuela’s 1,400-mile border is porous and highly unregulated. It’s often used by smugglers to purchase heavily subsidized goods in Venezuela to resell in Colombia for a profit. Food scarcity in Venezuela has led basic goods such as flour, sugar and rice to be missing from shelves.
A little boy was lost amid the flow of tens of thousands during the weekend. Colombian police officers were able to reunite the boy with his mother — a moment caught on video.
Ante la multitud de personas que retornaban a Venezuela rescatamos a Angel David de 5 años que se encontraba perdido pic.twitter.com/lhctTWVtF2
— CR.Jaime Barrera (@PoliciaCucuta) July 17, 2016