Toronto, February 7: Venzuelan troops on the order of Nicolas Maduro have blockaded a link bridge on the country’s western border with its neighbour Colombia to prevent humanitarian aid meant for opposition leader Juan Guaido, from coming into the country.
Troops dragged two shipping containers and a tanker on all the lanes of the Tienditas international bridge which connects the two Latin American countries. The arrangement was done after an aid convoy donated by the U.S. was seen making its way from Colombia to Venezuela.
Venezuela’s embattled president Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that his country is in the grips of a dire economic crisis and hence had refused aid from other Latin American countries as well as EU and the UN from entering Venezuela. Earlier this week he had proclaimed, “We are not beggars.”
Meanwhile self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido urged the Venezuelan troops to let the aid convoy through, submitting an entreaty that the (aid) is intended to help “your family, your sister, your mum, your wife – who surely need these supplies”.
Guaido is being supported by western countries including the U.S. and major European countries who say that Maduro’s current presidency is illegitimate due to last year’s rigged elections. US President Donald Trump in his 2019 State of the Union address spoke about the Venezuelan crisis: “We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom."
The blockade was noted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who tweeted out, “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.”
Colombia’s foreign minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, told reporters: “Stopping humanitarian aid getting into Venezuela is a crime. Stopping humanitarian aid getting into Venezuela harms the Venezuelan people. Stopping humanitarian aid getting into Venezuela is something that God would not forgive.”
Venezuela is suffering its worst economic crisis ever with historic rates of hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages but Maduro remains defiant that no international aid will be allowed in to his country.