María Ángela Holguín and Elías Jaua

The Colombian and Venezuelan Foreign Ministers met Thursday to develop “shock tactic” plans to end smuggling across the country’s shared border.

Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and her Venezuelan counterpart, Elias Jaua, reportedly focused on the issues of food and gasoline smuggling across the 1,280 mile border dividing their countries.

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“We came [to Venezuela] with all the conviction and spirit to work together in order to share intelligence and find a quick and forceful way to fight smuggling,” said Holguin, according to a press release published by her office.

The meeting had been announced toward the end of last month Presidents Juan Manuel Santos and Nicolas Maduro — of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively — in an attempt to protect their national economies from the undermining effects of smuggling.

As it stands, Venezuelan economists estimate that as much as 40% of their imported food comes into the country illegally from Colombia.

Colombia, on the other hand, is a prime destination for smuggled Venezuelan oil.

Those most affected are those who live in border towns on either side of the border. Smuggling, according to the Venezuelan foreign ministry, leads to “shortages, speculation and inflation with regards to access to basic goods for the Venezuelan people.”

The Colombian ambassador in Venezuela, Perez Bonilla confirmed that Colombia is “more than willing to provide any assistance in order to use legal channels to fight illegal ones.”


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