Venezuela Closes Key Borders with Neighbors amid Growing Aid Crisis

Venezuela has shut a key maritime border and grounded flights as the opposition party seeks to import foreign aid to the crisis-hit South American country, CNN reported.

The country has closed its maritime border with Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire and, in the Western state of Falcon, prevented flights leaving from or departing to those islands.

Vice Admiral Vladimir Quintero, a military general from embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s government, said that there was no date set for lifting the closures, according to the representative.

Maduro has so far refused to allow aid trucks into Venezuela from neighboring countries, which have formally recognized the government of the self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido.

The Venezuelan economy has suffered from years of mismanagement, and the crisis has left people from all walks of life struggling for food, basic living essentials and medicine, CNN noted.

More than three million Venezuelans have left their homes, with a million emigrating to neighboring Colombia, UNHCR said in November. Maduro maintains his country does not need aid and has barricaded bridges in an attempt to block it.

The government of Brazil held a meeting Tuesday to “define logistics” on providing aid to the Venezuelan people, presidential spokesman Otavio Rego Barros said in a press conference. The aid, which includes food and medicine, is anticipated to begin flowing February 23, he said.

The operation will be conducted in “cooperation” with the U.S. government, he added.

In an apparent retort to international efforts to send food to hungry Venezuelans, communications minister Jorge Rodriguez claimed Monday that Caracas will send food to feed hungry Colombian children, even as citizens in his country struggle with food shortages at home.

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