‘We are defending our borders and freedom’: Maduro amid humanitarian aid tensions

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has rallied a large crowd of supporters telling them that the country has been defending its sovereignty. The call comes as the opposition was trying to get ‘aid’ from the US across the border.

Maduro rejected the attempts by self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido to pressure border guards deployed to border crossings with Colombia to allow trucks in, calling the campaign an “attempted coup”. He called on the people of Venezuela to band behind his government.

“It is not a time of betrayal, it is a time of loyalty to the country and the supreme ideals of Venezuela,” he said.

Maduro dismissed the defectors, saying what they did was for show, just like the entire situation on the border orchestrated by the US government.

He stated that Venezuela was within its rights to defend its borders and the freedom of its people from a “Washington regime-change operation”.

A deadline set by Guaido for the Venezuelan government to let in the American shipment expires on Saturday. Since morning there was high tension in the Venezuelan border town of Urena as well as at the Simon Bolivar bridge about 10 km away. Some clashes occurred between opposition activists and Venezuelan security forces, who used tear gas on several occasions.

The opposition leader traveled to Colombia and is organizing a truck convoy, but so far has failed to force them through the police cordon.
The Maduro government sees the highly-publicized attempt to deliver the aid as a PR stunt to bolster the opposition and as a possible cover to smuggle arms to the opposition. Legitimate international humanitarian organizations like the Committee of the Red Cross refused to take part in the operation.

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