Deadly Violence Erupts on Brazil Border in Venezuela Aid Showdown – The New York Times
But once-prosperous Venezuela is reeling from its worst economic crisis ever, with deep-seated hunger, shortages and hyperinflation that Mr. Maduroâs opponents have blamed on corruption and mismanagement. More than three million Venezuelans have fled in recent years.
The biggest potential flash point is the bridge at CÃºcuta, Colombia, a major border crossing where the Venezuelan authorities have blocked the lanes with tanker trucks and fencing. The United States and other foreign powers have been stockpiling goods on the Colombian side of the bridge.
International groups have warned that clashes at the border could have wide reaching effects. Jason Marczak, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based policy research group, called it a âcritical moment.â
âVenezuelaâs borders are a powder keg with sky-high tensions, meaning that any errant move could unleash a wave of violence,â he said. âThe key question is who will blink first.â
Commenting on the reports of fatal shooting at the Brazilian border, Mr. Marczak said: âAny violence against innocent civilians seeking aid should be met by the full force of international law.â
Venezuelan opposition leaders and their allies in Brazil were scrambling on Friday to find trucks and drivers to transport 500 kits of food and medicine that they hope to get across the border on Saturday.
MarÃa Teresa Belandria, an opposition leader who serves as Mr. GuaidÃ³âs envoy to Brazil, said in an interview that some of the drivers that they hoped to enlist for the plan had been held back by the armed forces in Venezuela. Others, who are already in Brazil, have been threatened by allies of Mr. Maduro with arrest, she said.