Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

Venezuela to shut border with Brazil amid aid standoff

President Nicolas Maduro wants to block aid coming from countries not recognising his leadership

President Nicolas Maduro has already blocked a major border bridge to prevent supplies entering Venezuela via Colombia. AFP.
President Nicolas Maduro has already blocked a major border bridge to prevent supplies entering Venezuela via Colombia. AFP.

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela would shut its border with Brazil on Thursday "until further notice", amid a standoff with opposition leader Juan Guaido over letting in humanitarian aid.

Mr Maduro said the land border with Brazil would be "completely and absolutely" closed from 8pm local time after a meeting with the military high command.

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

Mr Maduro has already ordered the military to barricade a major border bridge to stop supplies entering the country from Cucuta, Colombia, where tonnes of humanitarian aid are stockpiled, most of it from the US.

He said he was considering the Colombia border closure after provocation from Colombian leader Ivan Duque and US President Donald Trump.

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

Mr Guaido, recognised as interim leader by 50 countries, was heading to the Colombian border on Thursday with his supporters to try to collect aid.

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

Updated: February 22, 2019 12:35 AM

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