The Colombian and Venezuelan governments have agreed to partially open their border as Venezuelans need food and basic goods for survival.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro closed the border last year to prevent smuggling, but with his people literally starving to death due to his socialist policies, he had to change course.

Maduro agreed to the change after meeting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos:

“We’re interested in a new beginning in economic and commercial relations with all of Colombia’s productive sectors,” said Maduro, seated next to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in front of a picture of Latin American independence hero Simon Bolivar, who dreamed of integrating the region.

The presidents agreed on give checkpoints with guards that will remain open from 6am to 9pm.

Hundreds of citizens illegally crossed into Colombia in July, which led to the governments temporarily opening a checkpoint. Over 100,000 people crashed through just to buy toilet paper and little things we take for granted in America.

Those who cannot make it to Colombia have spent eight hours in food lines. At the end of July, Maduro resorted to forced farm labor:

In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country’s fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended “if circumstances merit.”

. . . . President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly — the Congress — which is staunchly against all of Maduro’s actions.

According to the decree from July 22, workers would still be paid their normal salary by the government and they can’t be fired from their actual job.

It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves.

It has become too dangerous in Venezuela for trucks and people to deliver food to supermarkets.One council member told the Times that food delivery trucks cannot reach their destination because “people follow them and loot them.” The member, who did not want the publication to identify them, said “[T]here’s a danger of civil war here.”

Maduro took over private food companies, but the government does not have the resources to make everything work. Only Polar Enterprises remains, but if Maduro snatches that, his country will run out of the small amount of food they have.

In Catia, residents lined up for hours just to receive small packets of flour. The government quickly ran out, which led to riots against the “police with riot shields and national guardsmen with rifles as members of government-run armed gangs known as colectivos.”


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