Venezuela's Maduro shuts border with Brazil, considers closing Colombia border

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ISTANBUL
Published 21.02.2019 20:22
Updated 21.02.2019 21:21
Containers block the Tienditas bridge, with a stage in the background -where a concert will take place on Saturday 23- in Urena, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia, on February 20, 2019. (Reuters Photo)
Containers block the Tienditas bridge, with a stage in the background -where a concert will take place on Saturday 23- in Urena, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia, on February 20, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday the government was considering closing the border with Colombia and would close the border with Brazil ahead of opposition plans to bring in humanitarian aid despite his objection.

In televised comments, Maduro said the land border with Brazil would be "completely and absolutely" closed from 8 p.m. (0000 GMT) "until further notice," following a meeting with the military high command.

The embattled socialist leader also said he was considering "a total closure of the border with Colombia" to Venezuela's west.

He has already ordered the military to barricade a major border bridge to prevent supplies from entering the country from Cucuta, Colombia, where tons of humanitarian aid are being stockpiled, most of it from the United States. Maduro argues the opposition's plans are a cheap show to undermine his government.

He said he was mulling the Colombia border closure following provocations from Colombian President Ivan Duque and U.S. President Donald Trump.

"I hold Mr. Ivan Duque personally responsible for any violence on the border," said Maduro after meeting his generals at their Fort Tiuna military headquarters in Caracas.

Guaido, who proclaimed himself interim leader last month, was himself heading to the Colombian border Thursday with his supporters to try to collect aid being stockpiled there.

The opposition leader said he has enlisted hundreds of thousands of volunteers to bring in aid in defiance of Maduro's blockade, claiming 300,000 people could perish if the blockade continues.

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