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As Tensions Over Aid Escalate, Three Venezuelan Troops Defect At The Border With Colombia


LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– Three Venezuelan National Guard troops have shown defiance against Maduro’s regime, defecting at Venezuela’s border with Colombia and seeking help from the other side of the border, the Colombian immigration department said Saturday.

The VNG members left their posts at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on the Colombia-Venezuela border and requested help from Colombia’s immigration officials.
Also Saturday, soldiers with Venezuela’s National Guard fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who were demanding to cross the border at Ureña into Colombia to work, according to a CNN crew that witnessed the scene at the Tienditas Bridge.
Workers faced off with the soldiers, chanting, “We want to work!” before being dispersed by the tear gas. Men with shirts covering their faces started throwing rocks toward the guard.
These tense scenes played out Saturday, a day after violence broke out at a Venezuelan town near the border with Brazil over aid delivery, leaving two people dead and 17 others injured, local authorities said.
Tensions are running high at Venezuela’s borders amid opposition plans to usher aid into the country this weekend in defiance of President Nicolas Maduro’s wishes.
Maduro called on Venezuelans to “mobilize” Saturday. “Let’s all take to the streets to defend our independence with conscience and joy,” Maduro said on his official Twitter account.
On Friday, a standoff occurred between a local indigenous community and the military over aid delivery near Gran Sabana, on the Brazil-Venezuela border, said the town’s mayor, Emilio Gonzalez. He told CNN the military opened fire on an indigenous group trying to facilitate the passage of aid into Venezuela.
Gonzalez said soldiers shot and killed a 34-year-old indigenous Venezuelan woman and injured 17 others.
National Assembly member Americo De Grazia said on his official Twitter feed that two people had died. The second victim was an indigenous man, according to De Grazia.
Gonzalez said indigenous guards detained 27 Venezuelan military members. Venezuela’s Ministry of Defense told CNN it had no information on the incident.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who invoked a constitutional provision last month to declare himself acting president, condemned the incident in a tweet Friday, saying such acts by the military “will not go unpunished.”
British billionaire Richard Branson sponsored a Live Aid-inspired show Friday in Cucuta, Colombia, featuring Latin American stars such as Colombian musical legends Carlos Vives and Juanes, and reggaeton singer Maluma. Colombian President Ivan Duque, Chile’s Sebastian Piñera and Mario Abdo of Paraguay also joined the crowds.