Venezuela crisis

This item appears on page 18 of the April 2019 issue.

Antigovernment protests in Venezuela, which began on Jan. 23, continued through February. The protests were supported by National Assembly and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself president and called for new elections, saying that Venezuela's last election, which acting president Nicolás Maduro won, was fraudulent. Guaidó is supported by the US, EU, and most South American countries.

In order to address a lack of basic goods and medical supplies in Venezuela, a US-coordinated humanitarian-aid convoy arrived at Colombia's border with Venezuela on Feb. 6. However, claiming the convoy was a pretext for a US invasion, Maduro ordered the Venezuelan military to block the aid, placing shipping containers across the roads to prevent it from being delivered.

On Feb. 21, Maduro closed Venezuela's borders with Brazil in order to prevent humanitarian aid from being delivered. A large group of civilians attempted to block military vehicles from reaching the border near the village of Kumarakapay on Feb. 22 and were fired upon, resulting in at least one person being killed and multiple injuries. According to reports, protesters fought back and took three national guardsmen captive.

On Feb. 23, groups of civilians attempted to rush the Colombian border in order to receive aid and were fired upon by National Guard troops. Casualty figures were not available at press time. During the incident, at least 100 National Guardsmen crossed the border to defect.