Colombian minister says government never agreed to Venezuela's nightly border shutdown

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Colombia's foreign minister says Venezuela decided unilaterally to close the countries' shared border nightly, and her government does not believe it will have the desired effect of diminishing food and gasoline smuggling.

Maria Angela Holguin's statement to reporters Wednesday contradicted reports by official Venezuelan media that the two countries' presidents had agreed on the measure during an Aug. 1 meeting.

Local officials on both sides of the border complained that the 10 p.m.-5 a.m. closure that took effect Monday night will hurt the thousands of Colombians and Venezuelans who work on opposite sides of the 1,400-mile (2,200-kilometer) frontier.

Venezuela also sent 17,000 soldiers to the region to enforce what Venezuela has called a 30-day trial closure.

Venezuela has the world's cheapest gasoline and sells many basic foodstuffs at subsidized prices.