Rival music concerts in Venezuela and Colombia as tension grows

24 February, 2019, 00:43 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • 1 Killed, 12 Injured as Venezuela Turmoil Turns to Music

The standoff between a local indigenous community and the military over aid delivery occurred Friday near the Venezuelan town of Gran Sabana, said its mayor, Emilio Gonzalez, who told CNN the military opened fire on an indigenous group trying to facilitate the passage of aid into Venezuela.

While Maduro is trying to prevent US aid from entering Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, who the United States and other nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim president, has vowed to personally bring in humanitarian assistance into the chaos-ridden country. "They shot innocent people who were in their homes, working".

Standing near one of the red trucks carrying the containers of aid at the entrance to a cargo port, Venezuelan priest Julio Gonzalez, 33, blessed the cargo and sprinkled holy water on the excited crowd. "He is sending us rotten food, thank you!"

Demonstrators set up barricades and burned tires in the Venezuelan border town of Urena, as attention turned to whether National Guard troops stationed at the border crossing would fulfill Maduro's orders to block humanitarian aid from reaching a sick and hungry population.

Moscow has also claimed the USA is delivering military equipment disguised as aid deliveries with plans to engage in "dangerous provocation".

Dozens of mainly Latin American artists agreed to perform at the free concert that is taking place amid mounting global pressure on leftist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to resign.

"What we're hoping is that the authorities in Venezuela will see this wonderful, peaceful concert ... and that the soldiers will do that right thing", Branson said.

The decision for Venezuelan troops to abandon their posts at the Colombian border illustrates the conflict posed by pressures from opposing political forces in a time of great economic strife for the Venezuelan people.

A man carries Venezuelan flag to the Venezuela Aid Live concert on the Colombian side of Tienditas International Bridge on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia.

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said in a tweet late on Friday that Venezuela's government shut the Tachira border that connects it with Cucuta temporarily "due to a series of illegal threats" by Colombia.

At least four National Guard officers on Saturday at the border disavowed Maduro's government and requested assistance from the Colombian government, Colombia's migration agency said on Saturday.

Maduro blames United States sanctions and financial speculation for Venezuela's economic woes.

"For that reason, I have chose to break all political and diplomatic relations with Colombia's fascist government", he told cheering supporters.

The U.S. official described the aid convoys as a key test for the Venezuelan military as its leaders weigh whether to obey Maduro or Guaido, who has asked the military to let it pass.

According to a Reuters witness, two humanitarian aid trucks crossed the Brazilian border although they had not passed through the Venezuelan customs checkpoint.

In remarks after the event, Guaido spoke alongside Colombian President Ivan Duque and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and said he had been able to circumvent Maduro's travel ban only with the help of the armed forces.

In a sign of the importance of the issue to the White House, President Donald Trump's top national security adviser John Bolton canceled a weekend trip to South Korea to talk to allies ahead of a summit next week on North Korea's nuclear talks.



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