Venezuelans are so desperate they are streaming over the border to buy food
for The Washington Post
CUCUTA, Colombia — It wasn’t much, but it was all she could afford — a sack
of laundry detergent, a package of tampons and 18 rolls of Colombian toilet
paper. Marys Rosalba was carrying the prized goods back to Venezuela with a
tight grip and a fierce look that said: Don’t even think of trying to rob me.
The three items had cost her an entire week’s wages. “I used to have my own little market,” said Rosalba, 50. “Now I clean houses from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. When I’m not standing in line.”
Up ahead on the bridge over the Tachira River was the border checkpoint, and on the other side an oil-rich country of empty cupboards and supermarket queues stretching for blocks.
Cucuta, long known as a city of contraband goods, has suddenly became a lifeline for desperate shoppers in neighboring Venezuela, and one of the starkest illustrations yet of its panicky, gnawing hunger.