Standoff at Venezuela border leaves a dozen injured, at least one dead

Feb 24, 2019, 01:13
Standoff at Venezuela border leaves a dozen injured, at least one dead

At least two people were killed during a separate effort on Saturday aimed at transporting aid into Venezuela via the country's border with Brazil, the AFP news agency reported, citing the Venezuela-based Foro Penal human rights group.

Venezuelan opposition supporters rallied in Curacao's port Saturday, pushing for their own shipment to join in a unsafe aid effort for their country, but the vessel's captain declined to sail yet for security reasons.

"Yankee go home", Maduro told a rally of red-shirted, flag-waving supporters in the capital, Caracas.

Almost 200,000 people attended a benefit concert in Cucuta on Friday featuring Latin pop stars, including Luis Fonsi of "Despacito" fame, many of whom called on Maduro to step down.

The standoff also prompted Branson to back the concert, who Colombian entrepreneur Bruno Ocampo said is so committed to getting humanitarian aid into Venezuela that he will personally stay until Saturday to help ensure that food and medical supplies make it across the border.

About 50 countries have recognized Guaido, leader of the state legislature, as the acting president of Venezuela.

"We didn't know what we were getting into at the time", Ocampo said Thursday.

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The clashes occurred after opposition leader Guaido, who most Western nations recognise as the country's legitimate leader, gave a personal send off to an aid caravan from the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

I can't bear it anymore, we can't keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks against Venezuela.
As crowds wore white and carried Venezuelan flags, several uniformed officers on horseback and on foot stood guard near the border.

Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido in Colombia are planning to cross the border carrying emergency supplies into Venezuela.

Two other trucks, meanwhile, remained stuck at Venezuela's border with Brazil, despite reports by opposition leaders that they had managed to break through a police blockade and enter the country.

Guaido claimed in a tweet the aid had succesfuly passed into Venezuela, but Al Jazeera was not able to verify this.

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 US and Colombian governments is stockpiled in warehouses.

Saturday has been set as a deadline by Guaido to bring emergency food and medicine into the country.

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Three members defected at Venezuela's border with Colombia, the Colombian immigration department said.

The killings came a day after trucks driven by supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó nearly rammed a blockade by security forces loyal to Maduro in an attempt to reach aid in Colombia.

Some 2.7 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015 amid a devastating political and economic crisis, according to United Nations figures released Friday.

Maduro staged a rival concert a few hundred meters away on the Venezuelan side of the bridge in Tachira.

Venezuela has also closed its maritime border with three Dutch Caribbean islands - Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire - ahead of the "foreign aid" operation.

"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.

"We don't want to be interfered with, we don't want to be invaded", said Johana Suarez.

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