As economic and humanitarian crises rise in Venezuela , the country’s president/dictator, Nicolás Maduro, has closed a bridge connecting Venezuela and Colombia amid tensions with his opposition over humanitarian aid.
On Wednesday, forces loyal to Maduro used two large cargo trailers and an oil tanker to block the three land Tienditas Bridge connecting Cucuta, Colombia and San Antonio City, Venezuela, CNN reported. The blockade happened just after the U.S. sent aid to Colombia to be delivered at the Venezuelan border.
Maduro’s position has been challenged by the National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó who claims he is the rightful President of Venezuela and is backed by the U.S. and several other countries.
I previously reported that the situation that Maduro has created in Venezuela due to his socialist policies is so dire that the inflation rate is over 1 million percent and many citizens are starving and that citizens have resorted to eating cats, dogs and zoo animals.
Guaidó has called for humanitarian aid to help feed the starving population and reportedly named Cucuta as one of three points where international aid can be delivered and collected. On Thursday, he said he will work to get the aid delivered.
“We’re going to succeed in getting this #HumanitarianAid in because it’s about saving lives!” Guaidó tweeted, adding that he and his supporters are working “every day” to obtain the humanitarian aid while Maduro is “keeping the medicines and food from those who urgently need them.”
¡Vamos a lograr que ingrese la #AyudaHumanitaria porque se trata de salvar vidas!
Mientras trabajamos todos los días para lograr con éxito la entrega de la #AyudaHumanitaria; ellos insisten en apartar las medicinas y los alimentos de quienes las necesitan urgentemente. pic.twitter.com/szHHhPPsR7
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 7, 2019
Despite the military reaffirming its loyalty to Maduro, Guaidó called on the country’s armed forces to not block the aid.
“Brother, let the aid in. Do not stop it,” he reportedly said to a meeting with farmers. “The end of the usurpation will be the end of hunger.”
A spokesperson from Migration Colombia, Juan Caicedo, told CNN that the blockade was implemented on Tuesday and that there are cameras monitoring the bridge.
Maduro has reportedly rejected the international aid, claiming, “We are not beggars.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called for the bridge to be opened.
“The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid,” Pompeo tweeted. “The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE. #EstamosUnidosVE.”
The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE. #EstamosUnidosVE pic.twitter.com/L4ysYJaM6H
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 6, 2019
On Thursday, Maduro tweeted that the “American Empire” has had a trade embargo on Cuba for 57 years and now “besieges our homeland,” adding that Venezuela “will continue in the battle for our right to be free and independent.”
Se cumplen 57 años del criminal e inmoral #Bloqueo contra la hermana República de Cuba, por parte del imperio estadounidense, el mismo que asedia nuestra Patria. Los pueblos dignos del mundo, seguiremos en batalla por nuestro derecho a ser libres e independientes. pic.twitter.com/QOLcq9Vi8x
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 7, 2019
Besides the United States, other countries offered aid to Venezuela, including Canada with $53 million and Germany with $5.72 million. Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the aid would not go to the Venezuelan government, reported the Globe and Mail.
“A significant part of our $53-million we announced a couple of days ago, it’s actually going to go to places like Colombia and Brazil and others that are directly supporting the Venezuelans who flee,” Trudeau said.
“We’re also working with trusted humanitarian partners to try to get money to flow into Venezuela,” he added.