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Maduro closes border with Brazil amid aid flap

Maduro closes border with Brazil amid aid flap

Pence's office says he'll deliver a speech Monday in Bogota on the humanitarian and security crisis in neighboring Venezuela, and USA efforts to help get aid to the country.

Opposition lawmakers set off from Caracas in a convoy of buses just after 10 a.m. on a 800-km (500-mile) road trip to the border with Colombia.

Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Democratic socialist, refused to call for Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro to step down Thursday.

Guaido still has not provided details on how the aid will come in.

"I charge (Colombian President) Ivan Duque with any violence that might occur on the border", Maduro said in televised comments, surrounded by the military high command.

Maduro made the announcement on state TV, surrounded by military commanders before opposition leaders led by Juan Guaido vowed to bring in US supplies of emergency food and medicine over the socialist president's objections.

Maduro said he's also weighing whether to shut down the border with Colombia.

President Trump recently gave a speech in Miami slamming Maduro by claiming he has ruined the once prosperous country.

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Both the government and the opposition are gearing up for a showdown this weekend over the donated food and medicine destined for Venezuela that is now stockpiled in the neighboring countries of Colombia, Brazil and Curacao. Opposition figures have suggested forming human chains across the Colombian border to pass packages from person to person and fleets of boats arriving from the Dutch Caribbean islands.

Mr Guaido is backed by the USA and dozens of nations, while Mr Maduro is supported by Russia, China, Cuba, Turkey and many other countries.

The military has also beefed up security at the Colombian border, with security forces barricading a major border bridge to prevent aid from entering from Cucuta, where tons of supplies are stockpiled.

Pinera said Latin American presidents will meet in Chile in March to support regional development.

Pinera said he plans to deliver more than 36,000 items from Chilean donors - including food, diapers and medicine - in a military cargo plane, La Tercera reported Thursday.

"The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, and freedom has the momentum", said Alyssa Farah, press secretary for Vice President Pence.

"I recognize, and offer my support and obedience, to the transition government led by the president, Juan Guaido", Chirinos said.

Bank accounts for Venezuelan embassies and consulates in the United States had been frozen, he said.