Update 2: True to his word, it appears the humanitarian aid trucks being sent from the west into Venezuela have been repelled by Maduro's guards as reports come in from social media that they are all now on fire.
Meanwhile, John Bolton is stirring the neocon pot...
Thousands of Venezuelans are peacefully gathering near La Carlota Air Base in Caracas, demanding the Venezuelan military support democracy & the delivery of humanitarian aid. A stream of military officials have decided to stand by the people & against Maduro throughout the day. pic.twitter.com/1zKQHBn6DL— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) February 23, 2019
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Update 1: President Maduro addressed the nation on state-owned television, urging his supporters to revolt if he is harmed and telling Trump "Yankee, go home!" Headlines from the speech include (via Bloomberg):
- *VENEZUELA'S MADURO SAYS HE WILL HOLD POWER FOR MANY YEARS
- *VENEZUELA'S MADURO SAYS HE'S NO 'PUPPET OF THE EMPIRE'
- *VENEZUELA'S MADURO: TRUMP, DUQUE DON'T DECIDE FOR VENEZUELANS
- *MADURO: VENEZUELANS ARE DEFEATING U.S. COUP ATTEMPT
- *MADURO: GUAIDO SHOULD CALL ELECTIONS IF HE IS PRESIDENT
- *MADURO: PROTESTERS INCITING VIOLENCE ARE GOING TO PRISON
- *VENEZUELA'S MADURO SAYS HE WILL GUARANTEE SECURITY ON BORDER
- *VENEZUELA'S MADURO: GOVT HAS PLANS FOR ALL POSSIBLE SCENARIOS
- *VENEZUELA'S MADURO TELLS PRESIDENT TRUMP: 'YANKEE GO HOME'
- *VENEZUELA MADURO CALLS ON SUPPORTERS TO REVOLT IF HE IS HARMED
- *VENEZUELANS SHOULD RESOLVE OWN PROBLEMS, MADURO SAYS
- *VENEZUELAN HUMANITARIAN AID SEEKS U.S. INVASION, MADURO SAYS
President Trump has been quiet so far on Twitter, offering just this earlier today:
God Bless the people of Venezuela!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2019
As we detailed earlier, unrest in Venezuela is intensifying at border crossings with Colombia after embattled President Nicolas Maduro declared the borders with both Colombia and Brazil closed late this week, and after violence at a town near the border with Brazil left two dead and 17 injured when national guard soldiers opened fire on a group of civilians attempting to keep open a segment of the southern border with Brazil for deliveries of humanitarian aid.
VIDEO: Security forces use tear gas to disperse Venezuelan protesters gathered at the Venezuela-Colombia border pic.twitter.com/5qVZCQ7En7— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 23, 2019
On Saturday CNN crews filmed confrontations between protesters and Venezuela's National Guard at Ureña near Colombia over demands of workers to cross into the neighboring country to work.
Footage emerged on Saturday which appears to confirm that "Interim President" Guaido is present at the Tienditas International Bridge which connects Tachira, Venezuela with Norte de Santander, Colombia.
Guaido is vowing to break the border blockade by personally entering Venezuela with an aid convoy.
#BREAKING: Videos show the moment convoy of humanitarian aid led by opposition leader & interim president #JuanGuaido left the #Cucuta 50mins ago. Soon, the convoy will arrive at the border with #Venezuela. If the #Maduro's national guard fires at them, a war will start#23febpic.twitter.com/HvxgrJIdvN— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) February 23, 2019
Meanwhile as unrest at multiple border towns in Venezuela grows, Maduro called on Venezuelans to "mobilize" Saturday.
"Let's all take to the streets to defend our independence with conscience and joy," Maduro said via his official Twitter account.
This further comes a day after British billionaire Richard Branson sponsored a Live Aid-inspired show in Cucuta, Colombia, involving popular Latin American singers and appearances by the presidents of Colombia, Chile, and Paraguay.
Guaido himself also made a surprise appearance at the end of the concert in defiance of a ban on him leaving Venezuela.
Billionaire Richard Branson joined the musicians on stage for a finale of the concert he organized to raise funds for the US backed illegal regime change project in #Venezuela. Sadly it was pathetic hatchet job of #JohnLennon's Imagine. I imagine #LENNON rolling in his grave 😂 pic.twitter.com/g4m9LH5UM5— Walid (@walid970721) February 23, 2019
According to the AP, Guaido may have traveled across the border on a Colombian air force helicopter:
It’s not clear how Guaido sneaked into Colombia — in one video circulating on social media he appears running across a bridge near the Colombian town of Puerto Santander, while in another he could be seen boarding a helicopter belonging to the Colombian air force.
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