Venezuela reopens Colombia, Brazil border crossings
<span style="font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: #ffffff; display: inline ! important; float: none; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,Verdana,sans-serif; font-size: 13px; color: #1a1a1a;">Venezuela's National Guard soldiers patrol along the Tachira River, in the border with Colombia, state of Tachira, Venezuela on December 21, 2016. (Photo: AFP)</span>

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) – Thousands of Venezuelans crossed into Colombia on Tuesday to buy food and medicine after their government partially reopened the border following a messy crackdown on what it called currency hoarders.

The border with Brazil was also partially reopened, officials in Brasilia said.

"Thank God the border is open again," 29-year-old Christian Sanchez told AFP.

"A lot of people have come to shop on the other side because we can't find food, diapers for our babies, medicine," he said.

Sanchez was preparing to enter a pedestrian crossing over the Simon Bolivar Bridge linking the cities of San Antonio in Venezuela and Cucuta, Colombia.

But while foot traffic was permitted, trucks carrying needed goods remained blocked.

Venezuela also reopened its main border crossing with Brazil after talks between officials at the Brazilian embassy and Venezuela's foreign ministry, officials in Brasilia said in a statement.

The crossing is open for pedestrians, but only within limited hours for vehicles.

Local press reported that some 200 Brazilians, mostly local tourists, were prevented from returning home when Venezuela closed the border.

President Nicolas Maduro had ordered the borders with Colombia and Brazil closed on December 12 as part of a currency reform that involved removing the 100-bolivar note from circulation.

He alleged that "mafias" abroad were hoarding the banknotes to suffocate the Venezuelan economy.

On Tuesday, he also accused the United States of causing the cash crisis by infiltrating his government.

"Is it not the case that the gringos have bought key people in key positions in order to harm the people?" he said without identifying which institutions he believes to have been affected. "I think so."

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