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US ‘will take action’ in support of Guaido in Venezuela

Juan Barreto, AFP | A local climbs onto a bus burnt on the eve during protests after President Nicolas Maduro's government ordered a temporary close-down of the border with Colombia, in the border city of Urena, Tachira, on February 24, 2019.

International pressure mounted against Venezuela's leader Nicolas Maduro on Sunday, with Washington vowing to "take action" after opposition efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the country descended into blood-soaked chaos.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that the United States “will take action” in Venezuela, as he condemned violence perpetrated by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s “thugs” after security forces fired on demonstrators.

“The US will take action against those who oppose the peaceful restoration of democracy in #Venezuela. Now is the time to act in support of the needs of the desperate Venezuelan people,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

“We stand in solidarity with those continuing their struggle for freedom. #EstamosUnidosVE.”

After two people were killed and more than 300 wounded in clashes between people trying to get humanitarian aid into Venezuela from neighbouring countries and forces loyal to Maduro blocking the shipments, the top Washington diplomat tweeted, “the US condemns the attacks on civilians in #Venezuela perpetrated by Maduro’s thugs.”

“These attacks have resulted in deaths and injuries,” he added.

“Our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have died due to these criminal acts. We join their demand for justice. #EstamosUnidosVE."

Read more >> Venezuelan soldiers kill two in clash over aid on Brazilian border

This was followed on Sunday by the European Union condemning Caracas for its use of violence and armed supporters of the regime to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid into Venezuela.

“We repudiate the use of irregular armed groups to intimidate civilians and lawmakers who have mobilised to distribute assistance,” Euopean Union's Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido said the regime had “deployed irregulars” to block the entry of aid, referring to groups of armed Maduro supporters who tend to operate both alongside and independently of the security forces.

“There are worrying reports of unrest, acts of violence and a growing number of victims, in particular in the border areas and among the Pemon indigenous community,” Mogherini said.

“We strongly call on law enforcement and security bodies to show restraint, avoid use of force and allow for the entry of aid.”

Mogherini also said the EU was ready to “scale up” humanitarian and development aid to ease the plight of Venezuelans.

“The European Union has already committed more than €60 million in 2018/19 in humanitarian and development aid. We recall our commitment to help those in need for as long as it takes, to scale up this assistance,” she said.

Brazil on Sunday also condemned the violence by Maduro's administration this weekend, branding it a “criminal act” and calling on the international community to join efforts to “liberate” the South American nation.

Meanwhile, Brazilian Army Colonel George Feres Kanaan said on Sunday that two Venezuelan national guard soldiers deserted to Brazil late on Saturday, joining some 60 military officials who defected in Colombia.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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