Update: Maduro shuts border with ABC Islands to refuse US aid efforts

CARACAS, WILLEMSTAD - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro shut the country’s maritime border with the Dutch Caribbean islands yesterday ahead of opposition efforts to accept humanitarian aid from the US and others.

The socialist dictator has denied there are widespread shortages of food and medicine and refused any international aid. Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself Interim President and been recognized as such by more than 60 countries, is attempting to coordinate the aid mission. He said the provisions will enter Venezuela by land and sea on Saturday.

However, the closure will block movements of boats and aircraft between the western Venezuelan coastal state of Falcon and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, according to Vice Admiral Vladimir Quintero who leads a military unit in Falcon.

Curacao’s government, which has agreed to receive aid for Venezuela without being involved in its delivery, issued a statement that said the closure was meant to “prevent humanitarian aid from getting in”.

It added: “Curacao will not force in the aid, but it will continue to function as a logistical centre.”

The US has also sent tons of aid to the Venezuelan-Colombia border.

However, Maduro branded the effort a “cheap show” and insisted the country’s economic problems are due to US sanctions on Venezuelan oil.

Defense minister Vladimir Padrino said yesterday that Venezuelan troops would remain on the borders to prevent invasion.

He said: “They will never accept orders from any foreign government.

“They will remain deployed and alert along the borders, as our commander in chief has ordered, to avoid any violations of our territory’s integrity.”

Meanwhile, President Trump has thrown his weight behind Mr. Guaido’s revolution, threatening military intervention at a speech in Miami, Florida.

He said: “The people of Venezuela are standing for freedom and democracy and the United States are standing right by their side.

“We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.”


Mr. Guaido has argued that the elections in Venezuela last year were fraudulent and therefore Maduro is not the rightful leader.