Venezuela To Close Border With Brazil

Venezuela To Close Border With Brazil

Feb. 22, 2019, 8:06 a.m.

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela would shut its border with Brazil on Thursday "until further notice" amid a tense standoff with US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido over allowing in humanitarian aid.

Maduro said he was also considering a "total closure of the border with Colombia" where he has already ordered the military to barricade a major border bridge to prevent aid from entering the country from Cucuta, Colombia, where supplies are being stockpiled, most of it from the United States.

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In a televised address, Maduro called the aid a "provocation" and "child's game", suggesting the aid is a precursor for a US military intervention in the oil-rich, but economically crippled Latin American country.

"[The US] aimed to generate a huge national mess, but they didn't succeed. The country wants peace," he said, surrounded by members of the military.

The border with Brazil - which along with Colombia is one of the main potential avenues for aid delivery - would be "completely and absolutely" closed from 8pm (00:00 GMT) until further notice, Maduro said.

In a decree, the Venezuelan military said it was also banning vessels from sailing out of Venezuela's ports until Sunday to avoid actions by "criminal" groups.

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Later on Thursday, Brazilian presidential spokesman Otavio Rego Barros said his country is going ahead with the airlifiting of humantarian aid for Venezuela despite Maduro's announcement.

He said the non-perishable food and medicine would be stockpiled in the Brazilian border town of Pacaraima until Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido is able to send trucks to pick up the aid.

Courtesy: Aljazeera

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