December 13th, 2016
Venezuela just made it harder for its citizens to escape the country’s cash crisis.
President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday night that he’s closing the country’s border with Colombia for 72 hours as Venezuelans rush to exchange bills before they become invalid later this week. He accused “mafias” of moving Venezuelan money into Colombia.
It’s the latest twist in a crisis that symbolizes Venezuela’s severe economic depression, which is having a brutal impact on its citizens’ lives.
The Venezuelan government said in a statement that shutting the border with Colombia was necessary “to counteract the criminal attacks against our currency.”
Some Venezuelans are going to border towns in Colombia to exchange their currency, the bolivar, for U.S. dollars or to spend their money — while they still can — in Colombia where food, toiletries and other basics are plentiful.