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Venezuela deploys troops on border to check smuggling

Posted on Aug 12 2014 | IANS

London, Aug 12 : Venezuela has said that it has deployed 17,000 troops along its border with Colombia as part of an anti-smuggling operation, media reported Tuesday.

According to officials, up to 40 percent of goods Venezuela subsidises for its domestic market are smuggled to Colombia where they are sold at much higher prices, BBC reported.

The border was closed Monday night and will remain closed each night for a month.

The move has been agreed to by the Colombian government.

The Venezuelan government initially announced that it had planned to close the 2,200km long (1,360-mile) border every night for an indefinite period.

But later the general in charge of the operation, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, clarified that the ban will be lifted after a month.

The border is being closed from 10.00 p.m to 5.00 a.m.

Cargo vehicles, including vans and lorries, will be banned from crossing from Venezuela to Colombia between 6.00 p.m to 5.00 a.m.

Venezuela, which has the world's cheapest petrol prices, estimates that 100,000 barrels of petrol are smuggled through its western border every day and sold illegally in Colombia.

The smuggling of cheap goods from Venezuela is also seen as a major problem in Colombia.

The Colombian government says it leads to a big loss in taxes and complaints of unfair competition by local businesses.

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