Oil has permeated every aspect of Venezuelan life since pumping began in 1914, but mismanagement has fuelled a crisis.
Venezuela has opened its border with Colombia for the second time this month to allow people to buy food and medicine unavailable at home in their country’s collapsing economy.
Colombia’s government said 44,000 people crossed on Saturday to buy food, medicine and cleaning products, and said it expected that number to almost double on Sunday.
Last week, more than 35,000 people crossed over for the first time since the governor of Venezuela‘s state of Tachira opened the border.
Socialist President Nicolas Maduro shut the border last year in an effort to crack down on smuggling of subsidised products.
Venezuela‘s product shortages have since worsened, creating further incentives to buy goods in Colombia and bring them back.
Venezuelans routinely spend hours in lines at home seeking items ranging from cornflour to cancer medication to car parts. Shoppers complain of violence in lines, and looting is on the rise.
Bus terminals were packed and hotels filled to capacity in the border town of San Antonio, with many travelling hundreds of miles to shop.
A drop in oil prices has left Venezuela’s economy in tatters, and the lack of hard currency and inflation have starved the country of food, medicine and consumer goods.