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Venezuela's Border With Brazil 'Completely' Closed

President Nicolas Maduro warns border with Colombia may be next
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2019 7:44 AM CST
Venezuela Prez Shuts Border With Brazil, Warns on Colombia's
This photo combo of file photos shows opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaido, left, on Feb. 8, 2019, and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, on Feb. 7, 2019, both in Caracas, Venezuela.   (AP Photos/Ariana Cubillos)

(Newser) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been pushing back against efforts to send humanitarian aid into his country, an initiative led by opposition leader Juan Guaido. The latest development in that conflict came Thursday night, with Maduro announcing on state TV that he was closing the border with Brazil "completely and absolutely," and that his country's border with Colombia may be next, the BBC reports. The maritime borders with the islands of Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire have already been shut down, per Al Jazeera. Maduro has dismissed the notion that there's a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, calling the attempts to bring in aid a "provocation" that's nothing more than the beginning stages of a US-led military coup in the oil-rich nation.

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Guaido, recognized as the country's legitimate president by the US and dozens of other nations, is leading a convoy to collect food and meds from the US that are currently stored in Colombia, although some are wondering if the effort is more publicity stunt than altruism, Al Jazeera notes. Per CNBC, hundreds of thousands of volunteers are expected to assist Guaido in bringing those supplies in over the weekend, though it's not yet clear how. Meanwhile, Virgin's Richard Branson is hosting a "Venezuela Aid Live" fundraising concert on Friday in the Colombian border town of Cucuta, with the goal of raising $100 million to be used for food and medicine, CNN reports. Branson says the concert was at Guaido's request. Maduro's response: He'll be hosting a competing event on the other side of the border called "Hands Off Venezuela." (Read more Venezuela stories.)

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