International pressure mounts on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro as more than 100 troops desert amid bloody clashes over aid that left four dead and hundreds injured
- International pressure builds on Nicolas Maduro after violent clashes over humanitarian aid left four dead
- Venezuelan leader called a ‘sick tyrant’ and told his ‘days are numbered’ by US after aid trucks set on fire
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to rule out US military force as option as 100 troops abandon posts
- Brazil branded the blocking of humanitarian supplies criminal and urged allies to join a’liberation effort’
International pressure piled on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro today as more than 100 government troops abandoned their posts following deadly clashes over humanitarian aid.
Washington insisted Maduro’s ‘days are numbered’ after the blockade violence left four people dead and hundreds more injured.
Fierce confrontations erupted along the southern border with Brazil and western parts near Colombia, with reports of aid trucks being burned and civilians being shot with live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas.
At least four people were killed and hundreds injured as protesters clashed with police preventing vital supplies getting into Venezuela.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido travelled to Colombia to try and ease the border tensions and help aid get into the crisis-stricken country.
More than 100 Venezuelan soldiers deserted and crossed into Colombia, immigration authorities reported today.
The defections came as Guaido called on the military to abandon President Maduro and help him bring in desperately needed aid to alleviate shortages of food and medicine.
Government troops still loyal to Maduro, stopped convoys of humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela and civilians tried to cross the borders to get their hands on food, clothes and medical supplies.
A Colombian soldier (centre left) accompanies a member of the Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela (centre right) after he deserted, in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela today
A bus burns down during a protest in the border city of Urena, Tachira, after President Nicolas Maduro’s government ordered a temporary close-down of the border with Colombia
A demonstrator gestures in front of Venezuelan national policemen standing guard at the Simon Bolivar international bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia, after President Nicolas Maduro’s government ordered to temporary close down the border with Colombia
A member of the Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela (centre) walks in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, after deserting on Sunday
Demonstrators clash with Venezuelan National Guard forces at the Simon Bolivar international bridge which links Cucuta with Venezuelan city San Antonio del Tachira
A man throws stones at Venezuelan National Guards, at the Venezuela-Brazil border, as seen from Pacaraima, Brazil, today
A protester picking up a smoke grenade at the Venezuela-Brazil border, as seen from the Pacaraima side of the border in Brazil on Sunday
On Saturday a 14-year-old boy was among four people killed and nearly 300 injured when Maduro’s troops violently drove back the convoys and clashed with civilians clashed near the Brazilian border.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said today that Maduro’s ‘days are numbered’ and tweeted he was a ‘sick tyrant’, adding: ‘We denounce Maduro’s refusal to let humanitarian assistance reach #Venezuela. What kind of a sick tyrant stops food from getting to hungry people? The images of burning trucks filled with aid are sickening.’
Guaido visited one of the flashpoints of the violence – the Tienditas bridge which links Colombia to Venezuela – and called on government soldiers to abandon their posts and let aid through.
Standing on the Colombian side yesterday, the opposition leader said any troops who defected would be given amnesty because they had aligned themselves with the ‘right side of history’.
Maduro could face a new round of sanctions, regional leaders said today, after his troops repelled foreign aid convoys, with Brazil branding it criminal and urging allies to join a ‘liberation effort’.
Guaido, recognised by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, urged foreign powers to consider ‘all options’ in ousting Maduro, ahead of a meeting of the regional Lima Group of nations in Bogota on Monday that will be attended by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
The United States will continue to pressure Maduro until he understands his days are ‘numbered’, Mike Pompeo said on today.
Pompeo’s comments came the day after clashes between activists trying to deliver U.S-backed humanitarian aid into Venezuela and troops loyal to Maduro.
A small group of demonstrators wait after provoking members of the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard on the Francisco de Paula Santander international bridge in Urena in Venezuela
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, arrives at the CATAM air base with Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia in Bogota, Colombia, today
Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, Jorge Luis Gonzalez Romero (left) and Jean Carlos Cesar Parra (right) who defected to Brazil speak to the media near the border in Pacaraima, Brazil, today
Anti-government protesters face Venezuelan National Guards standing in the border area that separates Pacaraima, Brazil, from Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela, on Sunday
Venezuelan opposition demonstrators carry a wounded fellow masked protester during a clashes with the Venezuelan National Guard at the Simon Bolivar international bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia
A man sets fire at a guard post at the border between Venezuela and Brazil in Pacaraima, Roraima state, Brazil, on Sunday
Brazilian soldiers block the road to the Brazil-Venezuela border, in Pacaraima, Roraima state, Brazil, today as tensions flared at various points across the border
He told Fox News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union that the Trump administration will continue to support opposition leader Guaido.
Pompeo did not rule out U.S. military force as an option, but he added, ‘There’s more sanctions to be had, there’s more humanitarian assistance I think that we can provide.’
Maduro has blocked such aid at the border and resisted calls to step aside and let Guaido take power.
Pompeo says the U.S. will seek ‘other ways’ to get food aid to Venezuelans.
Vice President Mike Pence travels to Bogota, Colombia, on Monday for an emergency meeting on Venezuela with foreign ministers from more than a dozen, mostly conservative Latin American and Caribbean states.
Guaido said on Saturday he would meet with Pence in Bogota.
Colombian civil defence officials said 285 people were injured in clashes at bridges along Venezuela’s border with Colombia.
This evening a boat carrying aid from the United States docked at the island of Curacao after officials said the Venezuelan military had stopped it reaching the country.
The Midnight Stone supply ship, loaded with nine cargo containers, entered the harbour on the Caribbean island 40 miles (65 kilometers) from Venezuela’s coast, AFP reporters saw.
Anti-government protesters with stones face off with Venezuelan National Guards standing in the border area that separates Pacaraima, Brazil, from Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela, today
The Midnight Stone ship carrying containers with humanitarian aid for Venezuela enters the harbour in the port of Willemstad on the island of Curacao, today after being blocked from entering Venezuela
Members of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) of Venezuela stand guard on the Venezuelan side of the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge, on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia
Venezuelans work to remove a roadblock created by Venezuelan National Guards on the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in La Parada, near Cucuta on the Colombian side the border
Demonstrators located on the Colombian side of the Simon Bolivar International Bridge dismantle a blocking truck in Cucuta
Flashpoint: A woman throwing a stone towards the Venezuelan side of the border, in Pacaraima, Brazil, on Sunday
Supporters of Venezuela’s self-declared president Juan Guaido said it had sailed from Puerto Rico on Wednesday bound for Venezuela with 250 tons of aid.
Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rossello on Saturday said a Venezuelan navy vessel had threatened to fire at the boat as it approached Venezuela.
He said he had ordered the aid vessel to ‘leave the area temporarily’.
The sea shipments coincided with opposition efforts to truck aid into Venezuela by land.
Those bids led to bloody confrontations at the borders with Colombia and Brazil on Saturday.
Maduro has branded Guaido’s aid effort a ‘show’ and a smokescreen for a US invasion.
He has ordered Venezuela’s sea border with Curacao to be closed.
The opposition and foreign powers backing Guaido say Maduro must let aid in to Venezuela to relieve people suffering from shortages caused by an economic crisis.
Maduro blames US policies and sanctions for Venezuela’s economic woes.
Venezuelans in Curacao have also loaded a further 50 tons of aid onto a separate ship there, the Seven Seas.
Opposition supporters clash with Venezuela’s security forces at Francisco de Paula Santander bridge on the border line between Colombia and Venezuela as seen from Cucuta
Venezuelan opposition demonstrators carry a wounded woman during a clashes with the Venezuelan National Guard at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta
A vehicle, which carries humanitarian aid, is blocked by security forces during clashes between Bolivarian National Guard and protesters at the Francisco de Paula Santander Bridge in Tachira, Venezuela, today
Destroyed public buses sit parked after anti-government protesters attacked them during clashes with soldiers a few blocks from the border bridge in Urena, Venezuela, on Sunday
Venezuelan soldiers Jean Carlos Cesar Parra (left) and Jorge Luis Gonzalez Romero (right) speak after seeking refuge in Brazil, at the Brazil-Venezuela border, in Pacaraima, Roraima state, Brazil on Sunday
A masked Venezuelan youth walks away from others trying to remove a roadblock built by Venezuelan National Guards on the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in La Parada, near Cucuta
Bolivarian National Police patrol on motorcycles through Urena, Venezuela, near the border with Colombia, on Sunday
Its captain said on Sunday he would not sail for Venezuela with the shipment until authorities there opened the border.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday he was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the civilian deaths in Venezuela, and called on all sides to lower tensions.
Guterres issued a statement on the situation a day after an opposition attempt to bring humanitarian supplies into the country was repelled by security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
Appealing for calm, the UN chief urged ‘all actors to lower tensions and pursue every effort to prevent further escalation.’
He appealed ‘for violence to be avoided at any cost and for lethal force not to be used in any circumstances’.
Venezuelan soldiers abandon their posts as President Nicolas…
Venezuelan opposition lawmaker is ‘POISONED’ with ‘Devil’s…
Venezuelan soldiers fire tear gas at desperate people trying…
Two dead and 12 injured as Venezuelan troops open fire on…
Share this article
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: ‘Brazil calls on the international community, especially those countries that have not yet recognised Guaido as interim president, to join in the liberation effort of Venezuela.’
Brazil, a diplomatic heavyweight in Latin America which has the region’s largest economy, was for years a vocal ally of Venezuela while it was ruled by the leftist Workers Party. It turned sharply against Maduro this year when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN today: ‘There’s more sanctions to be had. There’s more humanitarian assistance I think that we can provide.’
China and Russia, which both have major energy sector investments in Venezuela, have supported Maduro’s government and condemned U.S. sanctions.
A lone woman takes aim with a stone towards a phalanx of Police of the National Guard on the border between Pacaraima, Brazil and Venezuela today
Demonstrators throw stones at a line of Venezuelan national guards at the border in Pacaraima, Brazil, on Sunday
Masked anti-government protesters pose for a group photo as they gather a few blocks from the border bridge in Urena, Venezuela, on Sunday
Demonstrators clash with Venezuelan National Guard forces at the Simon Bolivar international bridge – linking Cucuta with Venezuelan city San Antonio del Tachira – in Cucuta, today
Security forces intervene in protesters during clashes between Bolivarian National Guard and protesters after a vehicle, which carries humanitarian aid, was blocked by security forces at the Francisco de Paula Santander Bridge in Tachira
Masked anti-government protesters gather a few blocks from the border bridge in Urena, Venezuela, as clashed with Maduro’s government forces turned deadly
An anti-government protester carries materials to add to a burning roadblock, as he and others face off with Venezuelan National Guards standing in the border area that separates Pacaraima, Brazil, from Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela, on Sunday
Venezuelan National Guards stand on the Simon Bolivar cross-border bridge between Venezuela and Colombia, as seen from Cucuta on the Colombian side
Meanwhile, Colombian President Ivan Duque, in a tweet, denounced the ‘barbarity and violence’ and said Monday’s summit would discuss ‘how to tighten the diplomatic siege of the dictatorship in Venezuela.’
Venezuela’s Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez, during a Sunday news conference, gloated about the opposition’s failure to bring in aid and called Guaido ‘a puppet and a used condom.’ Maduro has denounced Guaido for seeking to foment a U.S-orchestrated coup.
Trucks laden with U.S. food and medicine on the Colombian border repeatedly attempted to push past lines of troops on Saturday, but were met with tear gas and rubber rounds. Two of the aid trucks went up in flames. Rodriguez accused ‘drugged-up protesters’ of setting fire to the trucks.
The opposition had hoped that troops would balk at turning back supplies that are so desperately needed by a population increasingly suffering malnutrition and diseases.
Though some 60 members of security forces defected into Colombia on Saturday, according to that country’s authorities, the National Guard at the frontier crossings held firm. Two additional members of Venezuela’s National Guard defected to Brazil late on Saturday, a Brazilian army colonel said on Sunday.
The Brazilian border state of Roraima said the number of Venezuelans being treated for gunshot wounds rose to 18 from five in the past 24 hours.
That was the result of constant gun battles, which included armed men without uniform, throughout Saturday in the Venezuelan town of Santa Elena, near the border.
Anti-government protesters face Venezuelan National Guards standing in the border area that separates Pacaraima, Brazil, from Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela, on Sunday
A woman holds a sign that reads in Spanish ‘Freedom’ at the border area that separates Pacaraima, Brazil, from Santa Elena de Uairen, Venezuela, on Sunday
A man wearing a Brazilian soccer jersey carries stones during clashes with Venezuelan National Guards in the border area that separates Pacaraima, Brazil, from Santa Elena de Uairen
Two demonstrators confront Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela on the Francisco de Paula Santander international bridge in Urena, Venezuela, border with Colombia today
Demonstrators set fire to a Venezuelan military outpost in the Venezuela-Brazil border, in Pacaraima, Roraima state, Brazil
Demonstrators throwing stones at a Venezuelan military outpost in the Venezuela-Brazil border, in Pacaraima, Brazil on Sunday
Protesters also burnt posters during flare-ups of violence at the border with Venezuela, seen from the Pacaraima, Brazil, side of the border
Anti-government protesters dismantle a truck that was burnt during clashes between opposition supporters and Venezuela’s security forces, on the Simon Bolivar cross-border bridge between Venezuela and Colombia, in Cucuta
A man throws a burning mattress, at the border with Venezuela, seen from in Pacaraima, Brazil, today
Opposition legislator Americo De Grazia said on Twitter that the death toll had risen to 15 in Santa Elena, though Reuters was unable to confirm this.
The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, a local crime monitoring group, said it had confirmed three deaths on Saturday, all in Santa Elena, and at least 295 injured across the country.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Sunday for ‘violence to be avoided at any cost’ and said everyone should lower tensions and pursue efforts to avoid further escalation, according to his spokesman.
Though Saturday’s effort allowed the opposition to demonstrate that Maduro was willing to repel aid, many opposition leaders appeared despondent and disappointed that the food and medicine had not gotten in.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, an influential voice on Venezuela policy in Washington, said the violence on Saturday had ‘opened the door to various potential multilateral actions not on the table just 24 hours ago’.
Hours later he tweeted a mug shot of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who was captured by U.S. forces in 1990 after an invasion.
President Donald Trump has in the past said military intervention in Venezuela was ‘an option’, though Guaido made no reference to it on Saturday.
Venezuelans face the Police of the National Guard on the border between Pacaraima, Brazil and Venezuela, as some 20 anti-Chavistas were dispersed this Sunday in the Brazilian border with Venezuela
Demonstrators clash with Venezuelan National Guard forces at the Simon Bolivar international bridge -linking Cucuta with Venezuelan city San Antonio del Tachira- in Cucuta
Venezuelans in a stand-off with the Police of the National Guard on the border between Pacaraima, Brazil and Venezuels today
Venezuelan Minister of Prison Service, Iris Varela (right), visits the Francisco de Paula Santander international bridge in the border between Venezuela and Cucuta
Venezuelan migrants near the Simon Bolivar International Bridge plead for people to support them with food and water so they can continue protesting in La Parada near Cucuta, Colombia, on Sunday
A Venezuelan protester launching a smoke grenade at Maduro-back government forces near the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in La Parada, near Cucuta
Venezuelan migrants under the Simon Bolivar International Bridge plead for people to support them with food and water so they can continue protesting in La Parada near Cucuta, Colombia, on Sunday
During a visit to a border bridge to survey the damage, Duque told reporters that the frontier would remain closed for two days to repair the infrastructure and that aid would remain in storage.
‘The dictatorship has sealed its moral and diplomatic defeat by showing the world how it persecuted its own with all types of violence,’ he said.
In the Venezuelan border town of Urena, streets were still strewn with debris including the charred remains of a bus that had been set ablaze by protesters. Residents on Sunday were pulling pieces from the still-smouldering wreckage to sell as scrap metal.
Most were worried about the continued border closure, which prevents residents from going to work or buying basic products in the neighbouring nation.
‘Today there is still tension, I went onto the street and saw all the destruction,’ said Auriner Blanco, 38.
‘The border closure is bad because we need everything they were going to bring over.’
Protesters throw stones at Venezuelan national guard members, at the border, seen from in Pacaraima, Brazil, on Sunday
Venezuelans trying to remove a roadblock created by Venezuelan National Guards on the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in La Parada, near Cucuta
Venezuelan migrants wait in line behind a vehicle for free food being handed out by Colombian residents, as others, below, watch people try to clear a roadblock created by Venezuelan National Guards on the Simon Bolivar International Bridge
Source: Read Full Article