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Brazilians force out Venezuelan immigrants, Caracas implementing reforms

Locals in a Brazilian border town have forced out Venezuelan economic immigrants after an alleged stabbing incident, as crisis-hit Venezuela seeks to implement a raft of reforms to mitigate its severe economic difficulties.

According to Press TV, hundreds of Venezuelans were forced to flee on foot back across the border to Venezuela from the Brazilian frontier town of Pacaraima on Saturday after a local restaurant owner was allegedly stabbed and beaten.

According to Reuters, a Pacaraima resident said four Venezuelans entered the restaurant owner’s home, tied him and his wife up and stabbed and beat the man severely before robbing his house.

Angered by that purported incident, Pacaraima residents drove out the Venezuelans and then set fire to the belongings they had left behind as well as to tires to block the only road linking Brazil and Venezuela.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have been moving over into neighboring countries over the last few years as an economic crisis in their once-prosperous, oil-rich country gets worse.

Venezuela is in a fourth year of recession, hamstrung by shortages of basic goods and stalled public services.

Economic reforms

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro blames those economic hardships on sanctions slapped by the United States on the country.

He has unveiled an economic reform plan targeting hyperinflation.

On Monday, Caracas will start issuing new banknotes with five fewer zeroes. The new sovereign bolivar currency will also be linked to the locally-created Petro cryptocurrency.

Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, had already stripped three zeroes off the bolivar in 2008.

Caracas has also implemented a massive hike in minimum wages.