Venezuela closes border with Colombia
- Author: Jon Douglas Feb 24, 2019,
Feb 24, 2019, 0:41
"The idea is to apply a bit of pressure and make them understand that this is humanitarian aid", Milagro Gonzalez, a 33-year-old Venezuelan resident in Curacao, said at Saturday's gathering.
"The agencies of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross are not taking part in the US-Colombian show on the [Venezuelan] border due to a certain reason: it is absolutely clear that this operation has political goals and could not be described as humanitarian", Arreaza wrote on his Twitter page.
The violence came just hours before dueling concerts were to begin on the country's western border with Colombia, where much of the US -supplied aid is being stored in a warehouse.
To reach the concert, dozens of people in the town of Palotal hiked through an unmarked trail between high bushes to sneak into the border with Colombia.
The socialist strongman has declared Venezuela's southern border with Brazil closed and threatened to do the same with the Colombian border ahead of a Saturday deadline by the opposition to bring in humanitarian assistance. "We have already have healthcare and food in Venezuela".
There was no immediate information on the condition of those injured in the clash along the Brazil and Venezuelan border, but Gonzalez said they were taken for medical treatment after soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas.
Carrying eight tons of emergency aid, the trucks had left Boa Vista in Brazil en route to the border earlier in the day, escorted by Brazilian police, organizers said.
The aid initiative is a watershed in Guaido's campaign to replace Maduro, which began last month when Guaido said the constitution made him acting president because last year's election was a fraud.
"What we're hoping is that the authorities in Venezuela will see this wonderful, peaceful concert ... and that the soldiers will do that right thing", Branson said.
A social media video showed troops who abandoned their post driving armored vehicles across a bridge linking Venezuela and Colombia, knocking over metal barricades, and then jumping out of the vehicles and running to the Colombian side.
Hours later, Caracas said it had sealed the Colombian border across the whole of Tachira - the western state that borders Cucuta - citing threats to Venezuela's security.
Guiadó's appearance came after the sun began to set and the music wound down on the eve of the looming aid showdown at the Colombian-Venezuelan border.
Thousands of volunteers will help get the aid into Venezuela, he said according to BBC.
Maduro blames USA sanctions and financial speculation for Venezuela's economic woes. This comes as the Venezuelan opposition has promised that aid will enter Venezuela Saturday, defying the government's orders. "But you must not block humanitarian aid".
"For that reason, I have chose to break all political and diplomatic relations with Colombia's fascist government", he told cheering supporters.
Trump's national security adviser John Bolton canceled plans to travel to South Korea to prepare for a summit addressing North Korea's nuclear program in order to focus instead on events unfolding in Venezuela, his spokesman said on Friday.
The U.S. official described the aid convoys as a key test for the Venezuelan military as its leaders weigh whether to obey Maduro or Guaido, who has asked the military to let it pass.
Reports say the incident took place in the Gran Sabana region, along Venezuela's southeast border with Brazil, home to the Pemon indigenous group.