Violent clashes at Venezuela border as standoff over humanitarian aid intensifies

Violent clashes at Venezuela border as standoff over humanitarian aid intensifies

Violent clashes at Venezuela border as standoff over humanitarian aid intensifies

The disturbing and tense situation playing out on Venezuela's land borders with Brazil and Colombia turned deadly on Friday. Sources from the Presidency confirmed in Bogota that the three presidents will attend at 15:30, local time, the closing of the concert presented as "Venezuela Aid Live" at the Tienditas global bridge, one of the three border crossings between Cucuta and the neighboring country.

"The majority of the people support the entrance of humanitarian aid, and we want to keep our border open", protester Carmen Elena Silva said. The aim is to take it over the border on Saturday.

Meanwhile China, which along with Russian Federation backs Maduro, warned humanitarian aid should not be forced in because doing so could lead to violence.

Mr Maduro's socialist Government is promising a rival three-day festival, called Hands Off Venezuela, on the other side of the border. Branson said, opening the concert before a cheering crowd.

"What we're hoping is that the authorities in Venezuela will see this wonderful, peaceful concert.and that the soldiers will do that right thing", Branson said. Almost 200 tons of aid are set to be delivered at the border Saturday. His 900 kilometer (560 mile) trip has been making slow progress as a series of check-points on the highway delay the convoy.

Several thousand people - many wearing white and carrying Venezuelan flags - were already gathered in a large field, as several uniformed officers on horses and foot stood guard near the border.

The Live Aid concert began with the Colombian national anthem.

"We didn't know what we were getting into at the time", Ocampo said Thursday.

The concert, dubbed Venezuela Live Aid, was due to feature about 35 Hispanic artists, ranging from Spain's Alejandro Sanz and Colombia's Carlos Vives to Dominican Juan Luis Guerra.

Maduro has announced plans to distribute Venezuelan aid to Colombia on Saturday.

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A stage has been built, but there were few people around the site, heavily guarded by military.

Chile 288,000. Brazil has allowed 96,000 Venezuelans to enter the country.

"I ask the armed forces, is it constitutional for them to fire against unarmed indigenous people?" said Jorge Perez, a local councilman in Gran Sabana, the district where the town is located who said he was present when the soldiers opened fire.

Maduro, who retains the support of allies China and Russian Federation and crucially, the powerful military, has blocked the entry of aid and accused the United States of plotting a military intervention.

Thanking Russia for a recent delivery of medicines, Gil denied there was a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

He says opposition efforts to bring in aid is a US-backed "cheap show" to undermine his Government.

On Thursday afternoon, organizers on the Colombia side of the border bridge were doing sound checks while in Venezuela a dozen workers sat idly in white plastic chairs chatting and listening to Venezuelan folk music on small speakers.

The Venezuelan Mayor of a town bordering Brazil said on Friday a woman from an indigenous community had been shot dead and others injured in a clash with security forces.

As if to highlighting those risks, a woman from the combative Pemon tribe identified as Zoraida Rodriguez died in clashes near the border with Brazil.

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