International pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has risen on Sunday as Washington declared its days “numbered” and vowed to support the opposition leader, Juan Guiado, who has been recognized as a “transitional president” while tensions on Venezuelan borders have subsided. Caracas prevented the opposition from entering US humanitarian aid.
Guiado, who has named himself a “proxy president” and has been recognized by some 50 countries, called on the international community to consider “all measures to liberate” Venezuela after four people have been killed since Friday in confrontations at the border.
The European Union condemned the violence and the Maduro government, which declared victory in this battle, to armed groups to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid, stressing its readiness to increase this assistance.
In New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterich on Sunday said he was “shocked and saddened” by the killing of civilians in Venezuela, calling on all parties to ease tensions.
Guiado said he would attend a meeting in Bogota at a meeting of the Lima group of 14 countries from the Americas, most of them opposed to Maduro, to discuss the crisis in Venezuela.
He called on the international community to prepare for “all possibilities” for Maduro.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said Venezuela’s “legitimate government” would officially join the group during the meeting, which will include US Vice President Mike Pence.
In his turn, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke in an interview with “CNN” American “The expectations difficult.
The determination of the days is difficult … I am confident that the Venezuelan people will ensure that the days of Maduro are numbered”.
Pompeo blamed Maduro’s supporters for most of the violence at border posts.
“We hope the army will regain its role in protecting its citizens from these tragedies”, he said.
If that happens, I think good things will happen”.
The US president does not rule out military intervention in Venezuela.
The Republican senator, Republican Marco Rubio, a pro-Venezuelan opposition, has published a picture through his Twitter account of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in blood with the hands of the Libyan rebels before his death; what commentators considered a clear threat to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The Florida senator published a picture of Gaddafi while he was in power, and another picture of him drenched in blood before his death after the protests that overthrew his regime in 2011.
Although Rubio published the pictures without comment, many observers and activists considered this to be a clear threat to Venezuelan President Maduro, given Rubio’s strong support for the Venezuelan opposition.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2019
Humanitarian assistance, mostly from the United States, has become the focus of the conflict between Maduro and Guiado.
Venezuela is experiencing a major humanitarian crisis that has impoverished the country and plunged it into a long tunnel of economic stagnation and hyperinflation.
“We have strengthened yesterday’s victory today, and tomorrow we will strengthen it more”, said Diosdado Capello, the second official of the diaspora.
“A truck didn’t pass through one humanitarian aid”.
Maduro says humanitarian aid is just a cover to justify a US invasion and has ordered the closure of several border crossings with Colombia and Brazil.
Among those killed in the clashes on Saturday, near the border with Brazil, a 14-year-old boy.
More than 300 people were injured during a day of unrest at Venezuelan border crossings with Colombia and Brazil.
“We reject the use of irregular armed groups to intimidate civilians and supervisors who have moved to distribute aid”, Federation Foreign Minister Federica Mugherini said in a statement on behalf of the 28 member states.
She stressed that the EU is ready to “increase” humanitarian assistance.
Guterich called for “avoiding violence at all costs”.
At the border, youths threw stones at National Guard soldiers who wore combat uniforms and responded by firing tear gas and attending anti-riot mechanisms to support them.
After the clashes, about 500 Maduro supporters demonstrated in red, the color of the ruling party, waving the Venezuelan flags that were thrown by demonstrators on the Brazilian side of the border.
Guiado on Saturday set a deadline for the entry of humanitarian aid in Colombia and Brazil.
“We have not and will not give up, We didn’t fall into their trap”, Capello said.
Venezuelan security forces have prevented hundreds of Venezuelans from trying to get humanitarian aid at the border with Colombia.
A ship laden with aid from Puerto Rico was forced to return after the Venezuelan army had issued a “direct fire threat”, Governor Ricardo Rosello said, saying Venezuelan forces’ behavior was “unacceptable and disgraceful”.
Venezuelan security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators in the cities of Orena and San Antonio del Táchira.
The buzzing of the shots was heard in the streets of Orena.
The Venezuelan civil defense official said 285 people had been wounded in clashes over bridges along Venezuela’s border with Colombia.
Proponents of Maduro blocked two trucks through barriers at a bridge and burned them.
More than 100 Venezuelan soldiers and police have crossed into Colombia, immigration authorities said on Sunday.
In Brazil’s border with Venezuela, two Venezuelan soldiers took refuge in Brazil on Saturday evening, a Brazilian military official said.
The split came after Guiado, the self-styled “acting president” who was recognized by some 50 countries, promised to grant amnesty to military personnel who broke out of Maduro, and the army’s demand for aid to ease the shortage of food and medicine.
In response to Colombia’s support for Guiado, Maduro said in a speech to thousands of his supporters on Saturday that diplomatic ties with Bogotá had been cut off and Colombian diplomats had been given 24 hours to leave.
“I will never bow down and will not acquiesce.
I will always pay for our country and I will sacrifice my life if necessary”.
An opposition demonstration took place in which thousands attended a military airport in Caracas.
Some 300,000 Venezuelans are in need of emergency aid, according to Guiado, who is calling for a new election, accusing Maduro of rigging the previous election to secure his re-election.
According to UN figures, 2.7 million Venezuelans have fled Venezuela since 2015 and some 5,000 Venezuelans migrate annually.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel defended Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday, warning of what he called an “imperial threat” to Latin America.
Diaz Canel spoke after voting in a referendum on the new Cuban constitution, and regional leaders who supported the attempt by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guiado, who has established himself as interim president, criticized the intervention of hundreds of thousands of people.
Deadly clashes broke out on Saturday on the border between Venezuela and Colombia, where Maduro’s forces blocked access to aid, which Maduro says is part of a US plot to overthrow him.
“The group of presidents on the Colombian border is like the clowns, who were they supporting?
All these presidents have more problems than Venezuela”, Diaz Canel said.
“We’re living in a time of imperialist threat and attempts to restore capitalism in Latin America”, he said.
“In Cuba we vote for our Constitution for Latin America and the Caribbean, we also vote for Venezuela, we defend Venezuela”.
“The economic and cultural war aimed at unifying the culture of North America at the expense of people’s identity”, Diaz Canel said.