Venezuelan troops fire tear gas at Colombian border: Report

Agencies New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 23, 2019, 05.53 PM(IST)

Venezuelan security forces stand guard at the border town of Ureña after Maduro´s government ordered to temporary close down the border with Colombia. Photograph:( AFP )

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The government of President Nicolas Maduro has shuttered borders as opposition leaders prepare to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela against the wishes of the ruling Socialist Party.

Venezuelan troops near the Colombian border on Saturday fired tear gas at a group of people seeking to cross into the neighbouring nation to work, news agency Reuters reported.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro has shuttered borders as opposition leaders prepare to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela against the wishes of the ruling Socialist Party.

Also read: US threatens new sanctions on Venezuela if aid convoys blocked

The move to close the border was taken hours after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered communications to be shut off with Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao islands and closed the border with Brazil, to stop the entry of humanitarian aid amassed there.

Also read: Russia accuses US of planning to arm opposition in Venezuela

Humanitarian aid has become the centrepiece of the stand-off between Maduro and Guaido, the 35-year-old leader of Venezuela's National Assembly who declared himself interim president exactly one month ago sparking a President legitimacy crisis.

Guaido also called the Maduro's 2018 reelections invalid and the body that elevated him.

However, Maduro's government says, the current crisis is a coup attempt led by the United States to topple him and control the country's vast oil reserves.

Venezuela is gripped by a humanitarian crisis that has seen poverty soar during years of recession.

As many as 300,000 Venezuelans are in dire need of food and medicine after years of shortages and malnutrition, according to Guaido.

United Nations figures show that some 2.7 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015 amid the crisis, and some 5,000 Venezuelans emigrate from their country each day.

(With inputs from agencies)