Maduro closes Venezuela-Brazil border
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/22/19, 11:23 am
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in a televised address Thursday said he blocked the country’s border with Brazil to interrupt plans to bring aid into the country on Saturday. Maduro said the blockade was to “protect the people” from what he repeatedly called a military invasion. He also shut down the country’s air and sea connections with the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. National Assembly Leader Juan Guaidó, who became interim president last month after invoking a clause in the Venezuelan Constitution, started a cross-country caravan with other lawmakers to access some of the aid stored in neighboring Colombia. Maduro promised to hold Colombian President Iván Duque accountable for any violence that erupts on Saturday.
Several nations have recognized Guaidó’s leadership, and he continues to appeal to Venezuelan military officials to break their loyalty to Maduro. Retired Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who led the military intelligence agency under Hugo Chavez, declared his support for Guaidó on Thursday and called on other officials to do the same. “We can’t allow an army, in the hands of a few generals subjugated to Cuban instructions, to become the biggest collaborator of a dictatorial government that has plagued people with misery,” he said.
In another show of power, Maduro plans to host a three-day “Hands Off Venezuela” music festival on the Venezuelan side of the Colombian border beginning Friday. British billionaire Richard Branson is set to sponsor an aid-raising concert featuring dozens of musicians on the other side.
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