CARACAS.-Faced with growing threats to the country’s national security and economic stability, Venezuela initiated actions in August 2015 to interrupt paramilitary gang activity, narcotrafficking and the smuggling of goods into Colombia from its territory.

Faced with growing threats to the country’s national security and economic stability, Venezuela initiated actions in August 2015 to interrupt paramilitary gang activity, narcotrafficking and the smuggling of goods into Colombia from its territory.The measures form part of a liberation and sovereignty plan, involving the installation of a series of new bases, to better control the areas that surround the more than 2,200km porous joint border.

President Nicolás Maduro said the closure of land crossings and the implementation of a state of exception in these border regions are the first steps towards wiping out the grievous social economic harms caused by paramilitarism.

The declaration for the first time ever of the instrument of a state of exception, included in the 1999 approved Carta Magna, to replace the “suspensions and restrictions of guarantees” and “states of emergency” contained in the 1961 constitution, indicates the strategic importance that the Venezuelan government places on resolving the problem.

Faced with growing threats to the country’s national security and economic stability, Venezuela initiated actions in August 2015 to interrupt paramilitary gang activity, narcotrafficking and the smuggling of goods into Colombia from its territory.The measures, which involve the deployment of Bolivarian Armed Forces and internal security agency units,have been criticized by Colombian authorities and the neighboring countries right- wing press.

The Bogota government, whilst recognizing the legitimacy of the measures, has denounced the alleged mistreatment of their countrymen during operations to repatriate more than 1,000 Colombians of no legal standing in Venezuela.

The Colombian side has further alleged that the human rights of refugees from their country have been breached -- something denied by Venezuela – and Columbia has attributed the origin of the problem to the Bolivarian government subsidies on essential goods and gasoline, the world’s cheapest.

The actions taken by Venezuela have resulted in a drastic reduction of crime in general, and smuggling in particular and have facilitated both a gradual improvement in the provision of basic goods to the population, and the saving of fuel.

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