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Venezuela shuts border with Columbia to fight currency smuggling

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the closure of the border with Colombia for 72 hours in a crackdown on currency smuggling by what he says are “mafias” trying to destabilize the socialist-run economy.

Maduro announced the decision Monday following a meeting with top economic aides.

The move comes as he is trying to curb Venezuela’s galloping inflation and roll out a new range of bank notes after deciding to pull from circulation a 100-bolivar bill. It is currently the country’s largest-denominated bill but worth only about 3 U.S. cents at the widely used black market rate.

Maduro warned Sunday that people will not be allowed to bring back 100-bolivar bills from outside Venezuela to trade them in for the new bank notes.

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