Venezuela closes border with Colombia after Guaidó defies travel ban, meets with presidents of Colombia, Chile and Paraguay

Feb 23, 2019

Venezuela closed its border with Colombia late Friday, a day after it blocked highways along its Brazilian frontier. Vice President Delcy Rodriguez tweeted that the closure was “total and complete” due to serious threats against the country’s sovereignty and security.

Juan Guaido meets Chile President Sebastian Pinera Friday in Colombia.

Earlier Friday, self-declared Venezuelan president Juan Guaidó, president of the country’s national assembly, defied a travel ban and crossed the border into Colombia to attend a concert and meet Colombian President Iván Duque, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benitez, all who recognize Guaidó’s claim to the Venezuelan presidency.

Also on Friday, two people attempting to stop a Venezuelan military convoy were killed by security forces near the border with Brazil.

The killings were condemned by the United States government, which said in a statement: “The Venezuelan military must allow humanitarian aid to peacefully enter the country. The world is watching.”

Hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid sitting just outside Venezuela’s borders have become a flashpoint between Guaidó and President Maduro. Maduro has so far refused to allow the aid, which includes food and medicine, to cross over into Venezuela. Guaidó has vowed that hundreds of thousands of volunteers will help bring it in on Saturday.

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On Friday, rival concerts were held just 300 meters apart on either side of the Venezuelan-Colombia border. The Venezuela Live Aid concert in Cucuta, Colombia was organized by British businessman Richard Branson.

Guaidó alleged that he was able to cross over on Friday with the help of the Venezuelan armed forces. The claim is significant as President Nicolás Maduro has been able to retain power largely because of his military support.
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Credit: BBC News, www.bbc.com

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