Clashes Break Out On Venezuela Border, Police Fire Tear Gas

The Wider Image Malnourished Venezuelans hope urgently needed aid arrives soon

REUTERS Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Friday's violence broke out in the village of Kumarakapay in southern Venezuela after an indigenous community stopped a military convoy heading toward the border with Brazil that they believed was attempting to block aid, according to community leaders Richard Fernandez and Ricardo Delgado.

Tensions are running high at Venezuela's borders amid opposition plans to usher aid into the country this weekend in defiance of Maduro's wishes.

"Yankee go home", Maduro told a rally of red-shirted, flag-waving supporters in the capital, Caracas.

It is even expected that the Colombian Head of State will attend Friday the reception of a shipment with the supposed collection sent in a C-17 plane from the United States, whose government leads the meddling crusade against the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro.

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Perez said he was beaten with sticks a few hours later by members of a pro-Maduro gang while taking other wounded people to a hospital in Santa Elena de Uairen, on the Venezuelan side.

As head of the opposition-led National Assembly, Guaido invoked the constitution to declare himself interim president after saying Maduro's reelection a year ago was a sham. We already know that they are with the people, you have made it very clear to us. The stretch of near-dry riverbed on the Venezuelan frontier is crossed by four narrow global bridges over which Guaido worked to deliver hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid to the near-starving nation. Near Cucuta, Venezuelans streamed across border crossings on foot Friday under a scorching sun.

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They walked across the border as members of the Colombian armed forces wrapped fraternal arms around them. Footage appeared on social media showing him speaking through a megaphone, saying that he's ready to join the struggle for Venezuela's freedom and accept Guaido's offer of amnesty.

"We are here to show our support for Nicolas Maduro and to say that Venezuela doesn't need humanitarian aid", Bianquis said in Spanish.

Elsewhere, Venezuelan National Guard forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at several crossing points on the Colombia border, pinning down demonstrators seeking to reach humanitarian aid stockpiled on the other side.

Earlier last month, Mr Maduro declared himself Venezuela's new interim President, with - causing a worldwide backlash as US President Donald Trump pledged his support for opposition leader Mr Guaido.

The trucks attempted to cross the Tienditas bridge, separating the Colombian town of Cucuta from Urena in Venezuela, to fulfill a promise by opposition leader Juan Guaido to bring fresh supplies to the crisis-ravaged country.

Saturday has been set as a deadline by Guaido to bring emergency food and medicine into the country.

"The United States strongly condemns the Venezuelan military's use of force against unarmed civilians and innocent volunteers on Venezuela's border with Brazil", the White House said in a statement, adding: "The world is watching". Venezuelan authorities should carry out "the critical economic and political reforms necessary to end the hyperinflation, supply shortages, and corruption at the heart of this crisis".

Venezuela has also closed its maritime border with three Dutch Caribbean islands - Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire - ahead of the "foreign aid" operation. "We will obviously keep a very close eye on what happens tomorrow", Dujarric said.

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