Deadly clashes broke out at the Venezuela border towns on Saturday, February 23, 2019, as the armed forces – Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela, tried to stop humanitarian aid from entering the country through Brazil and Columbia border.
Atleast 5 people have been killed and 285 hurt in the lethal clashes. The armed forces unleashed tear gas and rubber bullets as volunteers tried to unload food and medicines from the truck at Francisco de Paula bridge.
Prior to this, hundreds of people had gathered at the bridge, standing behind a special forces cordon, a few meters away from the burned carcasses of 3 trucks that attempted to enter Venezuela. Separately, a ship with humanitarian aid also received direct threat of fire by Venezuelan military ships.
Post this, the President of Venezuela – Nicolas Maduro has cut off all ties with Columbia. Maduro has repeatedly said that there is no humanitarian crisis in his country and has accused U.S. of orchestrating a coup. Also, agitated by the Columbian Government, Maduro has given 24 hours to Colombian ambassadors and consuls to leave Venezuela.
The clashes occurred as the self-declared Interim President – Juan Guaido had set a deadline of Saturday for foreign aid to enter Venezuela. However, Maduro has always raised his voice against accepting foreign aids as he fears invasion by the United States (U.S.) troops. He is now set to meet the Vice President of U.S. – Mike Pence on Monday, February 25, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia.
Speaking at a public rally, Maduro said, “My patience has run out. I can’t continue to tolerate the aggressions against Venezuela that are being carried out by the Colombian government.”
Talking of U.S. invading Venezuela, Maduro told the gathering, “If the empire dares to attack, they will be received by the strength of the Venezuelan armed forces.”
The U.S. Secretary of States – Mike Pompeo tweeted, “What kind of a sick tyrant stops food from getting to hungry people? The images of burning trucks filled with aid are sickening. The U.S. will take action against those who oppose the peaceful restoration of democracy in #Venezuela. Now is the time to act in support of the needs of the desperate Venezuelan people.”
Guaido, on the other hand, told the protestors, “Today the world has seen the tyranny that we struggle with in Venezuela. People celebrated that hospitals could not get access to the aid. We must move forward and seek the necessary help to stop the tyranny. We will not stop until we see freedom in Venezuela.”
For the records, the U.S. have allocated U.S. $ 20 million to help Venezuela. Countries like Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Germany have also confirmed financial aid to the crisis struck country. Turkey, Cuba and Bolivia are in support of Maduro.