Up to 20 injured as Maduro agents violently block aid from entering Venezuela

Tensions rise in Ureña as Venezuelans clash with National Guard

Video shows Venezuelan protestors clashing against the National Guard in Ureña, Venezuela on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
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Video shows Venezuelan protestors clashing against the National Guard in Ureña, Venezuela on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Security agents from the Nicolás Maduro regime fired tear gas and rubber bullets to stop a first attempt for humanitarian aid to enter across the border from Cúcuta, Colombia while reports from nearby Ureña claimed at least 20 people injured in clashes.

Images transmitted from the different bridges that connect Venezuela with the Colombian city of Cúcuta, showed clashes between member of National Police and the National Guard under orders of the Maduro regime and hundreds of protesters trying to open the way for trucks with humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile, desertions by several members of the Maduro forces also took place, including an Army major and four National Guard agents, three of which demolished some barriers placed on the bridge using an armored vehicle.

Spanish news agency EFE reported that about 20 people were taken to a medical assistance center in Ureña, one of the Venezuelan towns connected by bridges to Cúcuta, following the violent confrontations.

Three of the injured were hit by rubber bullets, one stuck in the eye and the other three in the back.

Earlier in the day, live news broadcasts reported that members of armed paramilitary groups, known in Venezuela as Colectivos, had fired on protesters in Ureña, wounding one of them in one leg.

National Guard agents also used tear gas to disperse the protesters trying to open a corridor to allow the passage of trucks loaded with food and medicine.

Maduro, whose government is no longer recognized by more than 50 countries, ordered the shutdown of borders with Colombia and Brazil to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid, even as millions of Venezuelans are in desperate need of food and medicine.

Maduro’s decision not to allow the aid to enter has been described by the Department of State as one of the greatest acts of cruelty recorded in modern history.

Members of Venezuela’s oppostion-led National Assembly, who together with interim president Juan Guaidó have organized the reception of humanitarian aid, have promised to continue pushing until the tons of food and medicines enter the country.

This story will be updated.

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Galardonado periodista con más de 30 años de experiencia, especializado en la cobertura de temas sobre Venezuela. Amante de la historia y la literatura.