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Venezuela Aid Deliveries Amid Heavy Violence

Venezuela Aid Deliveries Amid Heavy Violence

We officially announce that the first shipment of humanitarian aid has now entered our border with Brazil.

Later, three members of Venezuela's National Guard deserted their posts and solicited help from Colombia.

Sources from the Presidency confirmed in Bogota that the three presidents will attend at 15:30, local time, the closing of the concert presented as "Venezuela Aid Live" at the Tienditas global bridge, one of the three border crossings between Cucuta and the neighboring country.

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido gestures during the "Venezuela Aid Live" concert, organized to raise money for the Venezuelan relief effort, at the head of the Tienditas International Bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, on February 22, 2019.

Guaido took to Twitter to encourage Venezuelans to protest Maduro's blockade of humanitarian aid.

Humanitarian aid has become the centerpiece of the stand-off between Maduro and Guaido, the 35-year-old leader of Venezuela's National Assembly who declared himself interim president exactly one month ago Saturday.

"The truth is that not even 10 concerts will make damned Maduro leave office", said Darwin Rendon, one of the 3.4 million Venezuelans to have emigrated since 2015 to find work.

The country now faces widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation of over one million percent which makes even the most basic goods unattainable. Near Cucuta, Venezuelans streamed across border crossings on foot Friday under a scorching sun.

Now, pro-Maduro militias have opened fire at this frontier border crossing over humanitarian aid.

Maduro argued that foreign aid was an attempt by the United States to undermine his authority.

Venezuela severs diplomatic relations with Colombia, the country's President Nicolas Maduro told a rally of his supporters in the capital Caracas on Saturday.

With inflation running at more than 2 million per cent a year and currency controls restricting imports of basic goods, many Venezuelans lack vital medicines and a growing share of the country's roughly 30 million people is suffering from malnutrition.

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

On Feb. 22, reports emerged that two were left dead and over a dozen people injured at the Brazilian-Venezuelan border as the military opened fire on civilians who attempted to prevent a convoy from blocking the path of aid into the country.

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.

Colombia's migration agency said their contents would be unloaded at the Simon Bolivar bridge, which connects Colombia with neighbouring Venezuela, and transported and transported by "human chains" that had formed on the road.

As Venezuela's political turmoil drags on, allies of Juan Guaido, who is being recognized by more than 50 nations as the country's rightful president, are hoping the massive concert and push for aid mark a turning point from which a transitional government can be consolidated.

Some 2.7 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015 amid a devastating political and economic crisis, according to United Nations figures released Friday.

Venezuela has also closed its maritime border with three Dutch Caribbean islands - Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire - ahead of the "foreign aid" operation.

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