Venezuela's Maduro closes Brazil border to block aid entry

Суббота, 23 Фев, 2019

Amid the mounting tensions, opposition leader Juan Guaido set off in a cross-country caravan for the border with Colombia, where much of the US -supplied aid is warehoused and where he has called on thousands of ordinary Venezuelans to assemble Saturday to help bring it across.

Venezuelans leave their country as they make their way to the Simon Bolivar global bridge in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia, Feb. 21, 2019.

Wednesday's rally in Caracas gathered just a couple of dozen buses and pick-up trucks in Guaido's support. A shouting match and scuffle ensued, with the guardsmen firing tear gas before the lawmakers eventually forced their way through and resumed their journey.

"We're waiting, we want humanitarian aid to come through", Venezuelan man Jose Medi said.
"We will try to get as far as we can", lawmaker Mariela Magallanes told Reuters by telephone from the scene.

Venezuela's vice-president Delcy Rodriguez said the government was shutting down air and sea links between Curacao and Venezuela.

Chilean opposition has criticized Pinera's travel plans as populist, La Tercera's report said.

The Information Ministry did not respond to a request to comment.

Guaido said the planned entry points for aid were the Brazilian and Colombian borders, the island of Curacao and the seaports of Puerto Cabello and La Guaira. The oil-rich economy has halved in size in five years.

"It will be completely closed until otherwise notified, the land border with Brazil".

A warehouse filled with tons of food, medicine and other aid - primarily from the United States - is sitting in warehouses on the Colombian side of a bridge to Venezuela. "That is a decision of the Venezuelan people, so I think, Jorge, there's got to be a free and fair election", Sanders said.

Maduro accuses the Trump administration, which has levied crippling sanctions against his government, of seeking to force his ouster.

Maduro's beleaguered government denies that there is an economic crisis in Venezuela.

This handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency press office shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a meeting with doctors in Caracas, Venezuela on 21 February 2019.

Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency on January 23 and denounces Maduro as an usurper.

Mr Guaido is backed by the United States and dozens of nations, while Mr Maduro is supported by Russia, China, Cuba, Turkey and many other countries.

"The eyes of the world will be on Venezuela", opposition leader David Smolansky said in advance of the concert as he spoke with Venezuelan migrants at a soup kitchen in the border city of Cucuta where the aid is being stored.

Pinera said Latin American presidents will meet in Chile in March to support regional development. Guaido has offered future amnesties to military officers who disavow Maduro, though few have so far done so.