Power struggle turns to music with Venezuela Aid Live concert

by Garry Watts February 24, 2019, 0:42
Power struggle turns to music with Venezuela Aid Live concert

Since Wednesday, Maduro troops have been preventing the entry of US humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Brazil and other neighboring countries friendly to the United States.

The Venezuelan opposition and Colombia on Saturday launched an operation to take humanitarian aid to Venezuela while clashes between soldiers and pro-aid demonstrators raged on the Venezuelan side of the border.

The United States has stockpiled aid on Colombia's border with Venezuela at the request of opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington and other dozens of other Western governments have recognized as Venezuela's legitimate president since Maduro held elections past year decried as fraudulent. Get your hands off Venezuela Donald Trump. "The soldiers came and started shooting at the indigenous people", said Salomon Perez, who accompanied a brother and two nieces suffering from gunshot wounds by ambulance to a hospital in Brazil.

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.

At the country's other border in Brazil, four people have been killed as of Friday, and an additional 18 have been injured by colectivos - armed gang members who support President Nicolas Maduro, according to Alfredo Romero, the director and president of the Venezuelan human rights association Foro Penal.

But the U.S. announced on Friday preparations to bring aid in through another route.

In the latest tragic development in Venezuela's humanitarian crisis, one person is dead and several others injured after the military opened fire on civilians who were trying to keep open part of the nation's southern border with Brazil in hopes of receiving desperately needed aid supplies.

Venezuelan soldiers may bar the way.

Guaido, recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, defied court orders not to leave the country when he traveled on Friday to Cucuta, where aid from the USA and Colombian governments is stockpiled in warehouses.

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National Guard troops man a barricade blocking access to the Francisco De Paula Santander global bridge in Urena, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia, Feb. 23, 2019.

A man carries Venezuelan flag to the Venezuela Aid Live concert on the Colombian side of Tienditas International Bridge on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia.

Despite shortages of food and medicine, Maduro has denied there is a crisis in the country, and says the aid is aimed at undermining his government.

U.S. sanctions on the oil industry, Venezuela's only real source of hard currency, threaten further suffering in a nation wracked by hyperinflation and hunger.

Maduro declared that he is breaking diplomatic relations with Colombia, which has called for his ouster and thrown its support to Guaidó.

"Today the obstacles that the dictatorship created will tomorrow be rivers of unity, of peace", Guaido said in a news conference on Friday in Cucuta, where he was received by Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Guaido took to Twitter to encourage Venezuelans to protest Maduro's blockade of humanitarian aid.

Venezuela's Pemon indigenous community use unofficial border pathways to cross into Brazil to buy food.

It is even expected that the Colombian Head of State will attend Friday the reception of a shipment with the supposed collection sent in a C-17 plane from the United States, whose government leads the meddling crusade against the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro. "We are with you".

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