If President Nicolas Maduro shares anything in common with U.S. President Donald Trump, it’s this- they both believe in making borders impassable. Tuesday afternoon, the Venezuelan military barricaded a bridge at a key border crossing with Colombia, a direct affront to the U.S.-backed effort to bring humanitarian aid to untold thousands of Venezuelan people who are desperate for food and medicine.
Newly released pictures from the border town of Cucuta, Colombia show an orange oil tanker and two large blue containers positioned midway across the three-lane Tienditas Bridge, which connects Colombia with Venezuela.
The fight over this humanitarian assistance is yet another front in the battle between Interim-President Juan Guaidó and Maduro, who also appears to be preparing for a long term fight to retain power in Venezuela.
Maduro has categorically rejected humanitarian assistance from unapproved sources and argues that Venezuela isn’t a nation of “beggars” that will be subject to foreign intervention within its internal affairs.
“We are not beggars.”- Nicolas Maduro
Guaidó countered Maduro’s claims by accusing his government of accepting bribes in exchange for handing out food and medicine to people who are on the brink of survival. He also indicated that the transitional government he’s forming is taking steps that will ultimately make Venezuela self-reliant.
“We don’t want to depend more on a food subsidies than is necessary today,” Guaidó said, but Maduro’s blockade is an “absurd reaction from a government that doesn’t have the interest and well-being of Venezuelans” in mind.
Guaidó also identified three additional potential collection points for humanitarian aid that can be used to stage relief efforts- the Brazil-Venezuela border, Cucuta, and a yet to be identified Caribbean island, but the feasibility of these locations is still unclear.
The international opposition to Maduro has only increased since Guaidó declared himself acting president on January 23, invoking a constitutional rule to open a rare challenge to Maduro’s presidency.
This “Bloqueo” by Maduro proves once again that he’s a a petty tyrant that who is consolidating his grip on power at the expense of suffering masses of Venezuelans- will he face more defections from the military after this stunt?