The Venezuelan military barricaded a bridge at a key border crossing with Colombia, issuing a challenge Wednesday to a US-backed effort by the opposition to bring humanitarian aid into a nation plagued by shortages of food and medicine, the AP reports. The Tienditas International Bridge was blocked the day before with a giant orange tanker, two large blue containers, and makeshift fencing near the border town of Cucuta, Colombian officials said. The bridge is at the same site where officials plan to store humanitarian aid that opposition leader Juan Guaido is vowing to deliver to Venezuela. The Trump administration has pledged $20 million in aid and Canada has promised another $53 million.
The aid squabble is the latest front in the battle between Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro, who is vowing not to let the supplies enter the country. Maduro argues Venezuela isn't a nation of "beggars" and has long rejected receiving humanitarian assistance, equating it to a foreign intervention. Venezuelan Jose Mendoza stood at the entrance to the Colombian side of the bridge holding a sign that said: "Humanitarian aid now." Mendoza, 22, said he is tired of seeing Venezuelans suffer from food and medical shortages and that the military should stand on the side suffering Venezuelans. "They have to be by the side of the people and support us," Mendoza said. "They have family members who are dying of hunger. The call is for them too." (A Russian plane and 20 tons of gold have added to Venezuelan chaos.)