Venezuela’s Maduro cuts ties with Colombia amid border conflict – NBC News
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela cut off diplomatic ties with neighbor Colombia after that nation was used to stage U.S.-backed humanitarian aid that he has vowed to block.
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by President Trump as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, was in Colombia for a concert organized by billionaire Richard Branson.
“We can’t keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks against Venezuela,” Maduro said at a rally Saturday. “For that reason I’ve decided to sever all ties with the fascist government of Colombia. All consul employees should leave within 24 hours. Out! Get out. Enough is enough.”
Columbia’s Foreign Ministry responded in a statement that the nation “does not recognize the legitimacy of the usurper Maduro” and instead backs Guaidó.
“Colombia has always acted in a humanitarian and peaceful way and will continue to do so in order to help create the conditions that will give rise to democracy and freedom in Venezuela once again,” the statement reads.
Maduro is refusing food and medical supplies based on his belief that it will be used by the United States as a means to curry favor with his troops and overthrow him.
Last month Trump declared that he backs Guaidó, sparking increased tension with the Maduro regime and inspiring the Venezuelan leader to cut diplomatic ties with the United States.
Trucks loaded with supplies intended for Venezuela, where food is so scarce some citizens are calling their weight loss part of a “Maduro diet,” were set ablaze Saturday as they reached the Francisco De Paula Santander International Bridge at the Venezuela-Colombia border Saturday, according to drone footage.
Two trucks were repelled at the border by troops loyal to Maduro. They returned to warehouses in Colombia.
The Venezuelan military used tear gas and rubber pellets against volunteers and opposition supporters attempting to help transport aid across the border. Injuries were reported, according to Telemundo.