Venezuela shuts border with Colombia as cash crisis escalates
according to rapporteur report from CNN, link ,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.
The biggest bill in Venezuela is the 100 bolivar note. On the official, government rate, it's worth about 15 U.S. cents. On the more popular, unofficial exchange rate, the 100 bolivar bill is worth a mere 2 cents. Venezuelans have been weighing stacks of cash to pay for basic items instead of counting individual bills.