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Venezuela's Opposition Welcomes Opening of Border With Colombia


Venezuelans pass Colombian soldiers as they cross into Colombia over the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, Aug. 13, 2016.

Venezuelans pass Colombian soldiers as they cross into Colombia over the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, Aug. 13, 2016.

Venezuela’s opposition is welcoming the partial opening of the country’s border with Colombia during the weekend, which allowed tens of thousands of Venezuelans to stream across the border to buy food and other basic goods that are in short supply in the oil-rich nation.

Six border crossings were officially opened as part of a process by both countries to normalize the situation after Venezuela closed the border a year ago.

Severe shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities have created what U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week called a “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela. Ban said the situation in the South American nation has been caused by “political instability.”

Opposition lawmaker Pedro Urrieta told VOA’s Spanish Service the opening was the result of popular pressure on the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Urrieta blamed the government for “making decisions on the economy to support its political rhetoric” instead of recognizing the country is in crisis.

The Maduro government blames the country’s troubles on an economic war waged by the opposition and the United States. The opposition says the government’s socialist policies, first launched more than 15 years ago by president Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, are responsible for the country’s economic collapse.

Venezuela’s U.N. ambassador, Rafael Ramirez, dismissed Ban’s comments, saying the U.N. office in Venezuela has not characterized the country as experiencing a humanitarian crisis.

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