Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered Thursday an extension of the closure of the border with Colombia and Brazil for 72 more hours to continue cracking down on mafias that commit currency smuggling at the border areas.
From the presidential palace in Caracas, the president indicated that the measure would be communicated to the Colombian government and to the border authorities in Brazil.
Maduro reiterated that Venezuela wants "healthy and balanced relations across the border," as well as a healthy trade that does not harm the economy of his country.
The renewal comes after at the end of an earlier 72-hour closure that kicked off Monday when Maduro urged his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos to act decisively to resolve the problem of mafia elements in his country making a run on the Venezuelan bolivar.
This comes on the heels of the announcement that the 100-bolivar bill will be taken out of circulation in 72 hours starting Tuesday to deal with the extraction that is taking place where Colombian and Venezuelan right-wing and criminal forces are determining the value of the revolutionary currency.
In an official communique, the Ministry of Popular Power for External Relations expressed Monday its "deep concern for the different actions that have been carried out by criminals against the Venezuelan currency and economy from the territory of Colombia through the extraordinary extraction of bills of national currency."
It formally requested that the government of Colombia "repeal the articles of Resolution No. 8 of its legislation, which foment the exchange rate disparity and disturb the Venezuelan economy, through the double regulation on the exchange of currencies."
Referring to past agreements to remedy these actions in Colombia, the ministry reiterated "its willingness to consolidate bilateral cooperation in all areas.
In this regard, it requests the greater cooperation of the competent authorities for the effective and prompt recovery of the Venezuelan currency notes that are unlawfully in this brother country."
The Venezuelan head of state explained earlier this week that on the border with Colombia the exchange authority is not the bank of the Colombian Republic, but that "exchange houses are in the hands of mafias, linked to the ultra-right in Venezuela" who have established a manipulation of the bolivar.
Maduro said that international mafias, through an NGO contracted by the U.S. Treasury Department, have led an attack to leave Venezuela without bills.
He concluded by saying that the right wing is hurting the working people of Venezuela most and that with the border closing, the end of the circulation of the 100-bolivar bill and other measures in the near future, the Venezuelan people will be protected from further runs on the country's currency.