Venezuela’s Guaido heads to Colombia border to collect U.S. aid


Vice President Michael Pence will call for the ouster of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro next week during a high-profile visit to Colombia, a staunch US ally which shares a border with Venezuela and has taken in more than a million refugees from its crisis-stricken neighbor.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said he would shut the country's border with Brazil today "until further notice", amid a tense standoff with opposition leader Juan Guaido over allowing in humanitarian aid.

Branson, who is backing the show, dubbed "Venezuela Aid Live", told Reuters he expects money to flow in from many countries if the Tienditas Bridge crossing from Colombia to Venezuela can be opened.

"I really think the concert is inconvenient, given the tensions at the moment".

The opposition plans to send aid into Venezuela on Saturday from collection points in neighboring countries including Colombia via sea and land, despite Maduro's refusal to let it in, setting up a possible clash with authorities.

According to the president, the humanitarian aid that is being kept in the Colombian town of Cucuta was a "provocation".

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"We've got quite a few presidents from South America coming to the concert who have pledged to put a considerable amount of supplies into Venezuela once we can get the bridges opened", he said.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he was not aware of any notifications from the Venezuelan UN mission on changes to its delegation.

The event will feature performances from at least 35 artists including Alejandro Sanz, Maluma, Luis Fonsi and Carlos Vives.

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. Chilean Interior Minister Andres Chadwick dismissed the criticism, saying Chile has a stake in Venezuela's return to democracy. "But I'm not going to go, because I don't think it's safe".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday during televised comments that Venezuela would close the border with Brazil and was considering closing the border with Colombia. (AP) Opposition leaders led by Juan Guaido are vowing to bring in United States supplies of emergency food and medicine to dramatise the country's hardships under Mr Maduro, who has said the country doesn't need such help.