Venezuela Closes Borders Amid Aid Dilemma

Venezuelan incumbent president Nicolas Maduro announced earlier this week that he will close the country’s border with Brazil. This decision as well as the decision to close air and maritime borders with the islands of Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire come during a time of great tension between Maduro and the opposition who urge for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the country. Juan Guaido, the US-backed opposition leader and self-declared president has set a Saturday deadline for aid to be brought into Venezuela. According to Al Jazeera, he has rallied for one million people to help transfer supplies and food across the border despite physical blockades and national guard forces who are loyal to the Maduro regime.

Despite accepting the UN’s aid last year, Maduro calls the opposition’s calls to allow in aid a “provocation” and insists that “it’s better to prevent than to regret” in this case.  Legislator and opposition member, Tomas Guanipa responds to the aid blockade, “Do what they must, but they can’t stop the aid from entering Venezuela”. This confirms that a collective operation has formed and is ready to fight for the aid.

Amid the announcement of border closings with Brazil, Maduro also released statements insinuating possible border closure with Colombia where US aid shipments also await delivery from the border town of Cucuta.

Guaido sends a positive and reinforcing message to the impoverished people of Venezuela by spearheading this movement and physically joining forces in Cucuta where a three-day music festival is also being held. Musicians gather to perform and rally against the injustice of Maduro’s regime. They demand borders to be reopened and his people to be allowed access to the aid. Unfortunately, over three million people have already fled the country in search of basic resources, rights, and opportunity since the crisis has been exacerbated.

Maduro has maintained support from Russia, China, Turkey, and other countries as well as in-state institutions to maintain power and block any outside attempts to seize power or deliver humanitarian aid. He continues to deny that his people are underfed, living in poverty and that the country is undergoing a humanitarian crisis. As such, getting aid into the country this Saturday could disrupt Maduro’s blindness, but far more importantly, help the Venezuelans that need food and supplies. The UN has stressed that humanitarian aid should be distributed and not be subject to any political motives. The world waits to see what Saturday will bring.

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