Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro closes Brazil border to block aid entry

Feb 22, 2019, 01:21
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro closes Brazil border to block aid entry

Richard Branson said 300,000 would attend the concert.

Guaido has thrown all his weight behind a "humanitarian channel" that would bring tons of much-needed aid from foreign countries into Venezuela.

"I don't want to take any decision of this type, but I am evaluating it, a total closure of the border with Colombia", Maduro said.

"I think that if we can persuade the soldiers to open the bridge, that's the ideal outcome from this concert", he said in an interview via satellite link from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

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The United States and other members of the group have thrown their support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido and are trying to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to step aside to allow for new elections and the entry of humanitarian aid.

Guaido, recognised as the interim leader by 50 countries, was himself heading to the Colombian border today with his supporters to try to collect aid being stockpiled there.

According to the president, the humanitarian aid that is being kept in the Colombian town of Cucuta was a "provocation".

The restrictions come amid a tense stand-off over U.S. attempts to deliver what Washington describes as humanitarian aid into Venezuela in defiance of the wishes of its government.

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Two other world leaders may attend, organizer Fernan Ocampo told reporters in Cucuta earlier on Wednesday, without naming them.

The event will feature performances from at least 35 artists including Alejandro Sanz, Maluma, Luis Fonsi and Carlos Vives. Caracas would not allow such aid into the country, Maduro said, saying the country was coping with its difficulties and that U.S. "concerns" over Venezuela's humanitarian crisis were "fabricated by Washington over the last four years to justify intervening in our country". "He says that it's a democracy, people are not suffering, and it's just not true", Branson said.

Maduro's beleaguered socialist government, which denies there is an economic crisis in Venezuela, said on Thursday it was considering closing the border with Colombia and would close the border with Brazil. Though Guaido has said he has made provisions to transport the supplies once they're allowed into the country, it's not clear what he would do, should that deadline come and go without being acted upon.

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