Venezuela cuts ties with Colombia

Youtube  Grayzone Project

Youtube Grayzone Project

Washington, along with its allies in South America and the European Union, is openly backing the leader of Venezuela's opposition, Juan Guaido, who declared himself "interim president" last month.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido pulled himself onto a semitruck and shook hands with its driver as he and Colombian President Ivan Duque gave a ceremonial send-off to an aid convoy looking to transport almost 200 metric tons of mostly US -supplied emergency food and medical supplies from the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

He also broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia, giving embassy staff 24 hours to leave the country.

Hundreds of people filled the bridge, standing behind a special forces cordon, a few meters away from the burned carcasses of three aid trucks that tried to enter Venezuela.

Civil defense officials in Colombia said at least 285 people had been injured in clashes at border bridge crossings. We call on everyone to get out on to the street in every part of the country, to protest peacefully and demand that the army allows humanitarian aid to pass.

Some of the protesters were masked youth who threw rocks and later commandeered a city bus and set it afire.

"It's time for our people to tell Donald Trump, 'Donald Trump, Yankee, go home, Donald Trump", Maduro said, according to the Associated Press. Nations like China, Russia, Iran and Mexico continue to recognize Maduro as the ruler of the country.

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Guaido has been working with a raft of global partners to bring Venezuelans desperately needed food and medical supplies.

"Strength and faith", she said.

"I'm here because I want a better life for my children", said Threos, who lives in Tachira, just across the border. "But still, these soldiers are scary". "And they came charging at us". "You are the devil himself [Colombian President] Ivan Duque", he added.

Ten members of Venezuela's National Guard and two female police officers "fled the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro" on Saturday, according to Colombian immigration authorities. The young soldiers were then ordered to lie face down on the ground as migration officials urged angry onlookers to keep a safe distance.

"Attention Venezuela!" he said on Twitter.

Guaido, who has offered amnesty to soldiers who join the opposition's fight, applauded their bravery, saying it was a sign that support for Maduro was crumbling. "They shot innocent people who were in their homes, working". It said they took place in Santa Elena de Guairen near the border with Brazil.

Guaido tweeted later Saturday that aid had reached Venezuelan territory, including an image of trucks blocked by the military.

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He says the opposition efforts are a US-backed "cheap show". The concert is aimed at raising funds to help the relief effort. Guaido made a surprise appearance toward the end. Aid is also being held on the Caribbean island of Curacao.

With tensions running high after Mr Guaido invoked the constitution to declare an interim presidency last month, Mr Maduro has denied there is a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela despite widespread shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation.

Dueling demonstrations also took place in the capital. This stance has been supported by both the Chinese and Russian governments, with Russian foreign office spokespersons telling reporters Friday that the "aid" scheme "resembled those in Iraq and Libya". "The Geneva protocols clearly state that destroying humanitarian aid is a crime against humanity", he said.

"I don't know that anyone can give a timeline of when the dam might break, and it's quite possible that it won't", said Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society, a Washington-based think tank.

Venezuelan authorities were quick to dismiss the incident involving the four soldiers as a staged media show by the opposition which looked to sow chaos on the closed border.

Hours later, Caracas said it had sealed the Colombian border across the whole of Tachira - the western state that borders Cucuta - citing threats to Venezuela's security. "They can count on me".

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