Venezuela reopens border crossing with Colombia

A pedestrian crossing over the Simon Bolivar Bridge -- joining the cities of San Antonio in Venezuela and Cucuta, Colombia -- reopened after a telephone conversation between the countries' presidents Monday night. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela Dec 20, 2016, 02.24 PM (IST)

Venezuela reopened Tuesday a border crossing with Colombia that it had closed as part of a messy crackdown on what it called currency hoarders.

A pedestrian crossing over the Simon Bolivar Bridge -- joining the cities of San Antonio in Venezuela and Cucuta in Colombia -- reopened after a telephone conversation between the countries' presidents Monday night, according to Venezuelan information minister Ernesto Villegas.

The crossing had been closed since December 12 as part of a currency reform that involved removing the 100-bolivar note from circulation.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro argued that "mafias" abroad were hoarding it to try to suffocate the Venezuelan economy. The border with Brazil was also closed.

But looting and clashes broke out over the weekend as many people were left without cash. At least three people were reported killed.

Maduro eventually reversed course and said the currency will remain legal tender until January 2 while new, higher denomination bills are printed and circulated. 

(AFP)