by WorldTribune Staff, July 18, 2016
Some 120,000 desperate Venezuelans poured into Colombia over the weekend to buy food and medicine that are in short supply in socialist Venezeula.
Under the 21st century socialist, or “chavismo”, movement started by Hugo Chavez and continued by his hand-picked successor Nicolas Maduro, 70 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty amid triple-digit inflation, mortality rates are skyrocketing, public services are collapsing, crime is out of control, and hospitals do not have basic, inexpensive medicines.
Colombian officials said 35,000 Venezuelans crossed the border on July 16 and another 88,000 entered on July 17.
“It’s kind of crazy day,” said Alejandro Chacon, who owns a hardware store in the nearby town of San Cristobal and was crossing the border for the first time since the closure. “It’s strange to see this, but we know we’re going to find what we want in Colombia.”
Maduro blames his political enemies and smugglers for shortages and dismissed as a “media show” the images a few weeks ago of 500 women desperate to buy food pushing through the border checkpoint.
Some of those waiting to cross made anti-government chants and sang the national anthem, but most focused on the chance of getting at fully stocked supermarket shelves before the re-closing of border crossings in the evening on July 17.
“It’s sad to be doing this, but we also know over there we’ll find something,” said Rosa Cardenas, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher accompanied by a 5-month-old granddaughter.