/ Updated  / Source: Associated Press
By Associated Press

The Venezuelan economy is getting some financial relief as its foreign reserve funds dwindle, and food and medicine become more expensive and scarce.

On Monday, state banks in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay and Costa Rica, all members of the Latin American Reserve Fund, approved a three-year-loan of $482 million for Venezuela*s central bank.

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The loan represents about 5 percent of the central bank*s reserves, which have plunged to a 13-year low as a collapse in oil prices forces the government to scramble for hard currency amid widespread shortages of basic goods.

Venezuela*s opposition has questioned the legality of the loan since it didn't have the blessing of congress. But the Colombia-based multilateral lender, which was created by regional governments in the 1970s to assist members in time of financial stress, said Venezuela*s Supreme Court signed off on the request.

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