Venezuela, to a certain extent, has a legitimate gripe with Colombia over the shared border area; there is a lack of control and cooperation between both countries. Not only is the action ordered by the Maduro administration in recent weeks (closing a border crossing and deporting around 1,500 people) drastic but his claim that Colombian right-wing paramilitaries and the con- traband trade comprise part of an overarching strategy to destabilise his government is an old narrative. For over a year now the Venezuelan government has sought to lay a large part of the blame for the country’s food shortages on contraband rather than acknowledge that Venezuelan price controls create the incentives for the illegal trade and the involvement of Colombian criminal gangs. Why take action now?

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