Published: Sun, February 24, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Venezuela humanitarian aid met with teargas and gunfire on borders

Venezuela humanitarian aid met with teargas and gunfire on borders

Guaido's move to assume the interim presidency and global backing has galvanized Venezuela's opposition, which has vowed to keep protesting until Maduro steps down. A concert known as Paz Sin Fronteras - Peace Without Borders - was held in 2008 after a diplomatic flare-up that drew Venezuelan troops to the Colombia border.

The aid consists of food kits "containing rice, beans, sugar, and salt to feed almost 3,500 people for 10 days and additional rice to feed an estimated 6,100 people for one month", a fact sheet from the State Department says.

Hours later, Caracas said it had closed much of the Colombian border, citing threats to Venezuela's security.

Branson told the thousands who had gathered under the beating sun to enjoy music and call for political change, and that any alleged political affiliations were a necessary price for ending suffering. Branson said, opening the concert before a cheering crowd.

The president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, arrived Friday in the border city of Cucuta, where he and his counterparts Sebastian Piñera (Chile) and Mario Abdo (Paraguay) will develop an intense agenda focused on the onslaught against Venezuela.

Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,200 kilometer-long (1,370 mile) border, and trucks carrying aid could also drive across some of the countless illegal dirt roads that link the two countries across the porous border. Tensions are growing in the humid border town of Cúcuta as confrontation looks increasingly likely.

In nearby Urena, the Venezuelan National Guard fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters attempting to cross the border in order to work, BBC reports.

Guaido, who proclaimed himself acting president one month ago, set Saturday for a showdown over the desperately-needed aid, essentially daring the military to stop them from bringing the aid in. By Feb. 22 the makeshift blockades had been reinforced by the military who welded them to the bridge.

Thousands of people had traveled to the bridges to form human chains and to start passing aid packages to the other side of the border, the German DPA news agency reported.

The first shipment of humanitarian aid crossed the border from Brazil to Venezuela Saturday, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said, but getting aid to the people of Venezuela continues to be beyond hard. The man, whose identity was not revealed, called on other soldiers to join him in abandoning their support for Maduro's socialist government.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, the National Assembly president, whom the United States and almost 60 other countries have recognized as interim president instead of Maduro, hopes for more defections.

After this first bloodshed linked to efforts to bring aid into the country against the orders of embattled Maduro, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly appealed for violence to be avoided in Venezuela, a U.N. spokesman said. On stage, she sang her signature song, "Me Fui", Spanish for "I left", which has become the unofficial anthem of Venezuelans who have fled their country's economic implosion.

Some 40,000 Venezuelans cross from Tachira into Colombia every day, most returning the same day.

A man wears an anti-Maduro tshirt as he walks to the place where "Venezuela Aid Live" concert will be held at Tienditas International Bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, on February 22, 2019. We already know that they are with the people, you have made it very clear to us. "We have to make it happen".

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