Turn in Venezuela Crisis Hinges on Aid Showdown at Border – The New York Times

“Being associated too closely with the U.S. carries too much baggage anywhere in Latin America,” said Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group. “And when you have a leftist government that rallies its base on these issues of American imperialism, it plays closely into their narrative.”

Mr. Isacson, who directs the group’s security and defense program, also expressed concern about the tension that the rhetoric of Mr. Trump and Mr. Maduro was raising on the border.

“With this kind of saber-rattling you create potential for a hair-trigger moment,” he said, citing Mr. Maduro’s dispatch of troops to the border. “An incident there could go badly.”

Cúcuta, which is across a river from Venezuela, now offers the kind of contradictory scenes that reflect a country where two men claim the presidency. One of the shipping containers blocking the bridge into Venezuela, emblazoned with the word “paz,” Spanish for “peace.”

On the Venezuelan side, the government has amassed soldiers, militiamen, armored vehicles and even missiles. On the Colombian side sit news camera crews and trucks full of supplies. Richard Branson, the British billionaire, has invited a lineup of Latin American musicians to perform an aid concert on Friday night.

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