Maduro is cracking down on allowing legitimate humanitarian aid to come into the country because he believes it’s a pretext for US intervention. He’s also blocking Guaido and his supporters movements in the country toward the site of this humanitarian aid.
BLOOMBERG – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro started closing the nation’s entry points on Thursday and soldiers blocked the movements of National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as opposition supporters prepared to bring humanitarian aid across the borders.
Three buses carrying lawmakers sympathetic to Guaido left Caracas heading for the town on the Colombian border that’s the focus of the aid effort, but were stopped in Carabobo state. Guaido, traveling separately for security reasons, was held up by army trucks blocking a tunnel east of the capital, said Edward Rodriguez, a spokesman.
Maduro, who has said the aid effort is a pretext for a U.S. intervention, also announced that Venezuela’s land crossings with Brazil would shut at 8 p.m., and said he was also weighing “a total closure of the border with Colombia.” He already had sealed off access from Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire.
Maduro’s government and the resurgent opposition are readying for a showdown this weekend over donated food and medicine stockpiled in neighboring Colombia, Brazil and Curacao. Maduro’s government says that the ravaged country has no need of help, despite widespread shortages, while U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that the Venezuelan military allow the aid in, warning that “all options are open” in the event they refuse.
Wow. Sounds like it might very well be a showdown if Trump calls Maduro’s bluff.
Here’s more on what actually happened today:
Traditional aid groups have shunned the aid effort, saying basic human needs shouldn’t be tied to politics. But the Trump administration and Guaido’s supporters have made the food an incentive to overthrow Maduro, whose regime has overseen hyperinflation and malnutrition.
On Thursday, lawmaker Delsa Solorzano led the group of her peers aboard the buses.
“We’re on the presidential caravan on our way to the border”, she said in a video posted on her Twitter account. “We’re going for humanitarian aid and for peace.”
Then, the transport was halted.
During a transportation workers’ rally on Wednesday, Guaido called on supporters to march to military installations on Saturday.
“You have three days to follow the order of the president in charge and support the constitution. This help will save lives,” the lawmaker wrote to the military on Twitter.
Rubio has been tweeting about this all day. He actually believes Maduro’s National Guard are just going through the motions:
National Guard troops stopped bus filled with members of @AsambleaVE of #Venezuela headed to border to receive incoming aid. They reviewed ID cards,returned them & allowed bus to continue towards border.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 21, 2019
Increasingly apparent many guard units only going through the motions https://t.co/WV4dUjRXEb
Just spoke with 2 people on caravan headed to #Venezuela border to coordinate receipt of aid. Report that most members of national guard units that stopped them made only half hearted attempts. When locals came out to protest the units stepped aside & allowed caravan to continue. https://t.co/N6lXEcpW65— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 21, 2019
He also tweeted a video showcasing how people are fighting back against Maduro’s National Guard:
Here’s a couple more from him today:
In Tachira state #Venezuela, women protestors force National Guard units to retreat.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 21, 2019
Message to certain leaders (you know who you are):
No turning back now. The time to choose has arrived https://t.co/5ICo8WZlXF