Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro closes Brazilian border
Caracas: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of Venezuela’s border with Brazil on Thursday in an increasingly fraught power struggle with Juan Guaido, the Opposition leader spearheading efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the country despite a military blockade.
Recognised as interim president by more than 50 countries, he left the capital Caracas for the Colombian border in a convoy of several vehicles for the 900-km trip.
Embattled Maduro has dismissed Guaido’s humanitarian caravan as a “cheap show” and slammed aid as a precursor for a US military intervention in the oil-rich but crippled Latin American country.
A separate caravan of buses and trucks containing opposition lawmakers had earlier left eastern Caracas bound for the border.
Several of the trucks were stopped by security forces and their drivers forced to get out, but the rest of the caravan was allowed to continue, lawmakers said.
“We know that the regime is going to put all obstacles to prevent us from reaching the border, but nothing is stopping us, we are going to continue,” said Opposition lawmaker Yanet Fermin.
Guaido scored important symbolic boosts on Thursday as 11 Venezuelan diplomats based in the US declared their support for him.
Hugo Carvajal, a retired general and former military intelligence chief to Hugo Chavez, also recognised the Opposition leader and called upon the armed forces to break from Maduro.
Signaling his growing disquiet, Maduro announced Thursday that the border with Brazil would be “completely and absolutely” closed from 8:00 pm (0000 GMT).