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Venezuelan row with Colombia an election ploy: analysts

A baby is carried across the Tachira River by a soldier as hundreds of Colombians leave Venezuela with their belongings, arriving in Cucuta, Colombia on August 27, 2015The escalating row over Venezuela’s mass deportations of Colombians is less about neighborly strains than the economic crisis, crippling shortages and dismal popularity ratings facing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, analysts said Friday. The images of desperate Colombians streaming across the border with their belongings strapped to their backs captured international attention this week after Maduro’s socialist government deported 1,000 Colombians and frightened thousands more into fleeing preemptively. Maduro “needs to change the scenery, divert the focus of debate to an issue where he stands to gain something,” said Luis Vicente Leon, the director of polling firm Datanalisis.

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